Commentary by Ward Degler
The newspaper was right where it always was – in the middle of the driveway. Fine, except today the driveway was a sheet of ice. I knew I would break every bone in my body if I tried to walk on it.
Just as I was thinking about trying it, anyway, a sparrow flew down to the drive, enticed by a stray seed, and skidded across the ice before ruffling its feathers and flying away in humiliated disgust. It reminded me of a cartoon where Daffy Duck was showing off his ice-skating prowess, lost control and skidded into a tree, which caused about 50 tons of snow to break loose from the tree and bury the poor duck.
I was in a quandary. Being a creature of habit, I need my newspaper and coffee in the morning. Without the paper, I might as well go back to bed.
I needed something to reach the paper and pull it off the driveway. I tried the snow shovel, a broom and a stray two-by-four. All, too short.
Desperate, I searched the garage and found an old extension cord that didn’t have a plug at one end. I figured I could use it like a lasso, catch it under the edge of the paper and haul it in. Easy-peasy.
The problem was extension cords tend to be stiff. And when they have been rolled up for several years, they will stubbornly stay that way, even when you unroll them.
For several long minutes I stood at the edge of the driveway, heaving this coiled up wire onto the ice. The thing about coiled up wires is they make poor lassos. They just look like long, spindly coil springs bouncing around on the ice while completely ignoring the newspaper.
Frustrated, I pulled the wire in and painstakingly straightened every coil. Then I began flinging it onto the driveway again. Over and over I cast my trusty lariat, looking like an idiot. Cars slowed as they drove by. I smiled innocently and waved.
Finally, the cord caught on the edge of the paper. Slowly, I pulled it in as I edged closer to the edge of the driveway and under the low-hanging limbs of the smoke tree by the mailbox.
Just as I reached for the paper, I slipped on a patch of icy leaves and fell hard against the smoke tree. About 50 tons of snow broke loose from the tree and buried me.
Suddenly, I knew how Daffy felt.