Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Dec. 3, 2001

Four mavericks, tailing me on Highway 12


I forgot to enjoy myself more over the unseasonably warm weather, since I found myself driving through the aftermath of the first winter storm Tuesday morning.

Since the area received about a foot of snow, I think a sleigh and eight reindeer would have worked better, especially in Dassel. The roads were like wagon wheel ruts in the old west.

As it was, I managed to get onto Highway 12. If you can get to the highway, you can usually get somewhere. The state snow removal crews, especially in Wright County, are the very best in the business. I've been in the car with my kids, trying to get home, thankful for their vigilance.

So, I pulled on my boots, killing any spiders or whatever was living there over the summer in our basement, and climbed into our Jeep. I headed east on Highway 12 toward Howard Lake.

I went about 40 mph on the snow-packed road, trying to take my own medicine about speed.

No problem there! I am usually overly cautious in this respect and probably cause accidents by driving too slow.

It wasn't long before I was the head of a line of four (or more) "mavericks" - or people that drive big sports utility vehicles, who drive like a bunch of dooty heads. Too fast and too bold, for my blood.

Most owners of trucks are perfectly sensible drivers. It's just the smaller percentage of dooty head mavericks that seem to stick out during bad weather because they try to kill you with their negligence.

To their credit, no one tail gated me. I could tell they were dying to do this. They were also dying to pass me.

Only one woman, driving a green GMC Yukon, passed me in a spray of snow before I hit Cokato, and continued on her way at about 55 mph.

I counted 11 trucks, one car and four semi trucks going west on the way. Most of the mavericks appeared to be in Cokato, although they could have been visiting relatives or passing through. It was hard to tell.

I made it to Howard Lake in one piece.

Strangely, the next morning, someone driving a silver Lincoln passed me like I had my wheels in the sand - speeding on snow-packed, super icy roads - with a California license plate! Gee whiz!

"They have a lot of experience driving in this kind of weather," my Herald-Journal co-hort Jami Berg said sweetly.

. . . Of course, to my kids, the snow is way overdue.

My daughter composed a list several weeks ago entitled "What to do during snow" (see below).

We hauled all the snow pants, boots, mittens, scarves, hats, and other items out.

They are playing in it right now, enjoying a day off from school.

Burning the bird at Thanksgiving

We enjoyed Thanksgiving at home this year. No, I didn't burn the bird this year.

I managed to slap a meal together in about 90 minutes, with the help of boxed and prepackaged items. I even bought a chicken pre-seasoned with mesquite spices. It was delicious.

In my defense, I baked bread (pre-packaged dough), had fresh corn on the cob frozen from this fall, and served up fresh cooked squash. I bought a pumpkin pie, and bakery rolls, too.

My specialty is "carbon surprise." I could burn water, although it seems to be getting better over the years.

We had a regular feast. Usually we freeload on relatives (ha ha! tongue in cheek), and bring something like rolls, and a bottle of wine for the meal.

Next year, maybe I will try a turkey. It's just the margin of error is so great here - once you start cooking well, the bar goes higher. What if it goes really well?

Then everyone expects you to cook well all the time. What a pain that would be!

What if it goes wrong? Then I have to listen to another year of teasing about burning the bird.

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