Today’s interruption is brought to you by the Union Pacific Railroad and the Nebraska State Patrol.

Okay this isn’t starting out as likely to have a happy ending, but, trust me, it does. Of course it does; I’m writing it aren’t I, and I can do anything I want with my story.

Yesterday I had a meeting in a neighboring town about an hour away from home. (Yes, when a person lives in the wide-open-spaces, “neighboring” can mean distances of 60 miles or more, with not much but space in between.) I already knew when I left home that the meeting was going to last a couple of hours, but I didn’t think more than that. *sigh* Yes, the meeting lasted until 5:30. Could it have gotten over earlier? Yes it could have, but that is a story for another day.

I had wanted to get home by 6 for several reasons, with the weather being a huge concern. For the last several days we had been having winter weather. Not the once in a while fall snowfall we can get, but real honest-to-goodness winter weather. Winter weather, horrible weather, what the heck is happening weather Where is global warming weather. We’d had days of snow, and freezing cold, as in the teens and twenties, and now it was expected to start raining or more accurately rain turning to snow. Life just doesn’t get any better than this!

Another reason to get home by dark is the deer. Deer don’t like to follow the rules you know. They don’t stay away from the highways and leave the cars alone. Why do we have fences then, you ask. “Obviously, they are only for cows,” say the deer.

I had decided to take the route that follows the river on the south side. There is a much prettier view, and far less traffic this time of year. It is beet season here. Sugar beets, for those of you who don’t realize that not all sugar comes from cane. During beet harvest there are numerous semi’s loaded with beets heading to the factory, which is located on the north side of the highway. And due to the weather (see above) they were out in full force. I wouldn’t mind the trucks and I do think the drivers are competent, but every once in a while a beet decides to jump out of the trailer and onto the windshield of an oncoming car. The beets seem to be in cahoots with the deer.

Shortly after I started out on the highway, going down the south side, enjoying the view, watching out for deer, I realized I was following a state trooper. Not to worry as I had no plans to exceed the speed limit, but the trooper seemed to have no plans for at least going the speed limit. Nope, he was going about 15mph slower. What to do? Not having total confidence that the speedometer in the car is accurate, I decided not to pass. I would follow until the “cut across” to the north side and take whichever way he or her didn’t. Yep, mind is made up.

At the cut across he/she went straight, so I decided to cut across to the north side. I was so focused on not following the trooper that I neglected to see the train beside me. I slowed, I turned, I stopped right behind a car that was stopped at the railroad crossing for the train that was just starting to move. A coal train! An 872 car coal train! Maybe even more. Okay maybe not that many cars, but the most they are allowed if there is a law. Here in western Nebraska we get to experience at least 100 coal trains a day coming out of Wyoming. Suddenly I realized that as soon as I crossed the river I would be in BNSF Railroad territory doing the same thing: moving that coal to power plants on the east coast, so that all people living in metropolitan areas instead of wide-open-spaces can have electricity to power their computers to read my blog.

The force was with me! I reached the north side and no trains were coming. I pulled out onto the 4-lane, full of beet trucks going and coming from the factory and continued on my way. No more troopers; no more trains; only 50 (of the total 60) miles to travel home, and 10 minutes to get there before dark! All the time watching for deer who think they are in charge of the traffic flow.

Freezing rain, fog, and more traffic all greeted me as I traveled onward. I should be working for the post office. But I knew what awaited me at home: a warm house with the pellet stove going, and supper ready to be served. That Gene! He is so good to me!

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