Traverse City Record-Eagle

February 1, 2014

Life As I See It: Time to get a kick out of winter

Local columnist

---- — I don’t have to tell anybody that it’s still winter, do I?

It’s the darkest and coldest part of the year, everybody’s business stinks and it seems like all we do is sit around and listen for the furnace to come on and then wait to hear it shut off. It’s that crazy “hang on summer’s only five months away” time of year that we all endure every 12 months.

Winter, in a word, can be the most unsatisfying time of the year.

Pitchers, catchers and all the rest of the baseball players have a few more weeks before reporting to spring training, the college basketball tournament known as March Madness is still almost two months away, and if we can hang on for three months, the golf courses will open up.

And I remain so very unsatisfied.

On the plus side, I must admit that this winter, with its numbingly cold days and as much as predicted snowfall has given me with a certain “satisfaction” that I haven’t always gotten in winters past. It has given me one of one of my favorite winter pastimes; kicking those big clods of ice off of the fender of my car.

You know what I mean.

You drive from Elk Rapids to Traverse City, Kalkaska to Grayling, Empire to Beulah, Interlochen to Chums Corners or anywhere else during the winter and you know what happens. That’s right, a bunch of road slush gets spun up from these well-maintained streets and roads and sticks to the fenders, wheel wells, sides and bottoms of your car.

So what do you do?

You let it build up and when it’s just right, you give it a swift kick.

But be careful. Its winter time — you’ve spent a lot of time on the couch, probably haven’t stretched properly and you might be standing on slippery snow or ice. Getting your kick on a little too frisky might just land you flat on your back, and we’ve all seen the videos of what that looks like.

So just like your neglected tennis, softball or golf swing, make sure to take a slow backswing, shift your weight through the target easily and be sure to follow through. The clod of car ice shouldn’t be a moving target and with proper balance and timing, just a decent little thump with solid contact from the toe of your boot should do the trick.

In a word, “satisfaction.”

But don’t stop there. If the front driver’s side wheel well was that productive, then you know there’s got to be three more car clods waiting to taste your wrath. You’re driving nothing more than a four-wheeled dojo and the fearsome frozen kung fu master is now you.

You shouldn’t even have to search for more icy stuff to kick.

Kick the stuff off your car. Then you kick the stuff off the car parked next to your car. Before you know it, you’ve kicked the ice off of several cars on your one person shuffle across any given northern Michigan parking lot.

The bad news though, is that you’ve cheated so many other motorists out of, quite possibly, the most satisfying moments of their days. But that’s tough, because it’s February, you’ve had a bad day and now this just might be as satisfied as you’re going to get today.

So, here we are in the first days of February. It’s been a great winter for skiing, ice fishing, snowmobiling, shoveling, snow blowing and most any other of our favorite outdoor winter activities.

A few swift kicks of filthy car clods can almost make you say that golf season can wait, March Madness can take it’s time getting here and who cares that it is still dark 18 hours each day.

But it’s not that satisfying.

Rob Ford was born and raised in northern Michigan. He lives in Elk Rapids where he owns and operates Riverside Title. He can be reached via email at