Friends, it is with a very heavy heart that I let you know of the passing of a truly special lady. Joanne Thiel of Hubbard was a good friend of my mom's - they had met many years ago through our cousin Rae, who was besties with Joanne.
Joanne was such a lively, caring, sweet and, frankly, freaking hysterical lady that I cannot help but think of her with a smile, even as I join the many, many others whose lives she touched in grieving her.
Joanne simply loved to laugh. In fact, I'm pretty sure she's telling St. Peter a good one right about now. And so, in her honor and memory, I'd like to recount for you what may well have been one of the most comical runs I have embarked upon in quite some time.
Well, it's funny now.
OK, truth be, I'm still a little irked. But I'm sure it looked funny to anyone unfortunate enough to be outwardly observing it.
It all started when I set off for my regular daily jaunt (somewhere between 7 and 8 miles) but had to immediately turn back around and put on a sweatshirt. In July. Because it was cold. In July. Make that almost flipping August. I swear I could almost see my own breath and no, not because of the onions I had with dinner.
Tsk. Is it too much to ask for a wee bit of sweltering during the peak of summer? Sheesh! Where are the suffocating-ly hot diggity dog days beneath which we are supposed to be being smothered?
And speaking of our canine pals, I was nearly eaten by one on this particular run. A kind-looking older lady was having a heck of a time controlling her pug mix (which was half wildebeest, I think?) as she tried to careen him up over into someone's lawn to prevent him from snapping my toes off, which was clearly his fervent mission.
For my part, I jumped down onto the little plat of grass between the road and the sidewalk (ironically referred to as the "devil's strip" by us as kids) in a panicked attempt to save my tootsies from becoming an appetizer for Cujo who was snarling his way toward me like a hyena on the scent of an injured baby mongoose.
Sadly, this was the nicest thing that happened to me on that run; at least the little old lady was trying to keep Beelzebub away from me. Unlike the fiendish group of teenage boys who verbally accosted me just prior to the monster mongrel meeting.
Not only did this gang of hoodlums swerve their mommy's black SUV toward the sidewalk (wildly honking the horn as they did so) to get my attention, but then they hurled several expletives at me once they were certain they had it, as well. Uproarious laughter ensued from within the getaway car, whilst all I could come up with was, "Nice! I'm going to call your mothers!"
Which is hilarious when you consider it all happened so fast that if I were to offer police a description of the main culprit (a dark-haired, fair-skinned teenage boy, I think), we'd be left with little more than a very blurry sketch of a human stick figure. At least, I'm pretty sure he was human. Could've been one of those people-hating zombies we hear so much about these days?
Anyway, that brings me to the other humans I encountered: all seven of them. Not a one of them slid over so much as a quarter-centimeter to accommodate space for two-way traffic on the sidewalk that fateful day. I literally got bumped into the grass seven times, mostly by able-bodied men.
Humongous hmpf and for shame.
By the last not-so-nobleman nudge, I was peeved to the point of spitting, "Why thank you, good sir, for your kind chivalry."
He gave me a little wave, but only with one finger.
Man! Where's Cujo when you really need him?
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist who's just looking for a little common courtesy from oncoming humans and their little dogs, too. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.