Bill Keeps Warm In the Ditch

Man is it cold out. I like the winter and I even like the snow as long as I don’t have to shovel it or drive in it. But the cold is another story. When it gets so cold that it hurts, that’s where I draw the line.

Just bringing the garbage cans out to the road is a pain in the [expletive deleted]. When I was younger it didn’t bother me at all, or I just didn’t notice it as much, but now I don’t like it. Ten degrees is about my limit especially if it’s windy. Anything below that gets me mad.

Last week I ended up in a ditch. Wasn’t going very fast but once you start to go sideways, it’s all over. I was headed across to the far side of the road and feared smashing into a guardrail so I gave it just a little gas. It worked but by then I was going completely backwards and headed back across the road towards the ditch. It was one of those deep ones. By the time it was over I was facing up to the sky and I knew I wasn’t getting out of that. I lit a cigar.

Had to wait for Triple-A to come and hook me up and drag me out. Also had my hand warmer that I’ll talk about in a second.

What did people do before Triple-A? Probably get a farmer to bring his tractor around. I wonder how they dealt with problems like that. In my case it was something that could have ruined my whole day, but in an hour I was driving down the road like nothing happened. One less cigar and some guy’s front yard tore up.

Maybe they thought they had it easy because they thought about the generation before them, who had it even worse. My great Grand-pappy’s family used to pray for snow because part of his job was to free the frozen railroad switches. He would go out in the worst weather and free up those switches and earn an extra buck or two, and it made all the difference to the family. They were grateful for it.

They probably would be ashamed of us now. Not that I wouldn’t do that if I had to, but people worry more about playing games than opportunities to make more money. To the older generation work was a blessing and the things we take for granted now would have been something only Rockefeller types would have enjoyed. Actually, in some respects we have it even better than Rockefeller.

My old Pappy’s generation knew what it was like to have to use the outhouse. When I was a kid I remember visiting some relatives and their houses still used them. I remember them telling us to be sure to check for porcupines before we sat down. I don’t know if they were just having fun with us or not but nevertheless it was probably good advice. I can’t even imagine having to live like that now.

We think we have it rough but we really do have a lot of creature comforts, that’s for sure. I’m not even talking about the high-tech gadgets where you tell some computer lady to turn up the heat because you don’t want to get out from under the covers. If you do that [section deleted as it may have insulted some of our more sensitive readers].

One of the things I like is my Zippo hand warmer. Not one of the new ones where your computer charges it up. I’m talking about the regular one that runs off the lighter fluid and fire, just the way God intended. I used to have an old one from the 70s, it was nice and big but it didn’t stay warm for very long anymore so I got rid of it. As a gift I got a new one. It stays warm for 12 hours and I love it.

This is not an ad for Zippo but if you live where it’s cold you really should have one. Those little packs you can put in your gloves are a good idea but they’re too small and don’t stay warm long enough. Now that I think about it, Zippo should be advertising with us. What better website for them to go on than either Briar Report or Stogie Report?

If those guys only knew how much we support them they would be sending us checks all over the place.

You should see it when we are at a Staff Meeting, or I should say, you should hear it. When we all sit down and light up all you hear is the clackady-clacking and snappy-snapping of Zippos. You know that sound, everyone does. It’s like the racking of a shotgun, a very distinctive sound. Unmistakeable. I love that sound.

I also like the sound of me smoking a stogie. It sounds like peace and quiet. I wish me and my old Grand-pappy could have had one together.


Bill is the acting Briar Report Chief of Staff.

he is also the Managing Editor of

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