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How to tell spring is almost here

I am heartened that spring appears to be just around the corner. This is that in-between time of year when the weather can’t make up its mind in some parts of the country — ours being one of them. The folks up north know for sure what season still has them in its grip.

However, good old Kansas starts rolling out the next season about the middle of January, reminding us that it won’t be too long until great weather arrives! I will never forget my first winter in this part of the country. I was straight east of here in Missouri at the Mount Hoadie College for Girls and I could not believe how fast we shed the winter wear after Christmas break. It was wonderful. I have never been sorry that I stuck it out and stayed here “in the south.”

I may have said this before, but one of the first harbingers of spring for me is mass skunk suicide. Have you ever noticed this phenomenon? Never mind why the chicken might have crossed the road — why are so darn many skunks trying to cross? Good grief. The carcasses are everywhere. The Mister thinks they are despondent when they awaken from winter and they throw themselves on purpose under the wheels of fast-moving vehicles. I think they just are a bit foggy and confused when they come out of hibernation and they stumble into the path of cars and trucks. Having never hibernated I am not sure of this part, however.

Moving right along, the next warm weather alert comes in the form of college basketball playoffs — especially in Kansas. This is one of the best times of the year, for sure. If we are looking at the end of the regular season and contests for league championships, can the Final Four be far behind?

And then the biggy is the switch to Daylight Saving Time. It now begins earlier and lasts longer than when I was a youngster. In fact, it starts Sunday and lasts until Nov. 1. That means darker mornings for a while, but sunlight lasting longer in the evening hours. Yessssss…

I love spring. It is my favorite season.

My next comment has nothing to do with any of this, but I want you to know that Monday will be the fifth anniversary of my first heart attack. This was the one where the cardiologist said, “Oh, just cut back on the cigarettes, you don’t need to quit completely.” So I thought, “Woo-hoo, I still can smoke!” And that is what I did. I cut back for about 48 hours and soon was back up to two packs a day.

Of course, that cardiologist was a moron. Four months later, with two more heart attacks under my belt, I was introduced to “A Boomer’s Guide to Fun with By-Pass Surgery.” Now this is something you should avoid at all costs. It hurts for a long, long time. In my case, after five years, it still hurts. The best way to avoid it is to quit smoking or never start. Period. There is no short cut to this.

I am grateful beyond measure to the heart surgeon, who told me in NO uncertain terms that I only had two choices, I could smoke or I could live. Thanks to him and his rather rude method of delivering that message, I have had an additional five years.

So I’m looking forward to another Kansas spring. The only reason is that I followed that doctor’s advice. You can’t really escape it —you need to flat-out quit. Do it for yourself, for your loved ones, whatever. Just do it. I swear to you that if I can do it, you can do it.

Happy spring to all of you.

— Susan Marshall

Last modified March 4, 2009

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