Be The Thunder

Day 12 of the #WingWritingChallenge is all about thunder.

Man! This is the kind of post where all of the participants are going to write about the same general thing. Some big storm, or how storms make them feel … how awesome it is to hear thunder and know a storm is coming to break up the insane heat that’s been persistent in your life for the past three months …

Sorry, I got a little carried away there.

I thought I would have one of my story association posts instead. We’ll start in one spot and see where it goes from there.

As you can see, I posted a photo for the Tampa Bay Lightning. That is one of the local hockey teams here. They encourage their fans to Be The Thunder in the same way the Detroit Lions NFL team wants their team to Protect The Den. Sports talk!

I’m not a hockey person. Fans of this blog know that I dig the NFL and that’s about it. Please don’t ask me about college ball, we’ll be here all day while I rant and other people try to defend it. You won’t change my mind, sorry.

Being from Michigan and needing a winning team to root for, I will throw my support behind the Red Wings if they happen to be playing on the television. My Companion actually likes the Lightning, so it can be an issue sometimes.

The year we got married the Lightning and the Wings were playing against each other to get to the Stanley Cup finals. That didn’t go as smoothly as it could have, but better than I expected. The Lightning came out ahead in that particular match-up, and if I remember correctly they lost their next bouts.

Many moons ago when I was living in Denver, I lugged all of our dirty clothes to a laundromat once a week. They had a South Park pinball game there I mastered before we moved back to Michigan.

Colorado had their own issues with the Red Wings at the time. Seriously, there were billboards up specifically demanding the Avalanche beat the Red Wings. That seemed like some serious rivalry feelings.

As a Michigander, I was not aware of these strong feelings. I’m not sure any of my friends back home were either. I certainly had never seen a billboard targeting the Avalanche. Odd.

My spouse-at-the-time had a baseball cap that had the Detroit English style D on it. He was very, very proud of that hat.


I had to send it through the laundry and, I swear on everything I know, that I only turned around for a moment, and the damn thing disappeared off of the top of the basket. After searching high and low I left the laundromat, dejected and wondering how I was going to explain the missing hat.

Well, I found the hat. Someone had taken it from my basket, ran it through a mud puddle, and then laid it in the muddy driveway so that cars drove over it.

Such disrespect.

I went home and told my guy someone stole it, but I never mentioned the desecration. I didn’t think his heart could take it, and I’m not sure my ears could have handled the extra bitching. I ended up replacing it with a similar hat, but fitted. I know it wasn’t the same. Darn you, Coloradans!

I say that, but I absolutely love Denver. That trip was my second time through. The first had been back in 1998, in the winter time. I impulsively threw all my gear into my Saturn and took off for Arizona. I decided to take the northern route so that I could see more of the country.

This became a bit of a trip from hell. The trip started out great and then the weather turned on me. I ended up getting snowed in while at Sydney, Nebraska’s Holiday Inn. They shut down the highway through the mountains because it was too dangerous.

For three days it was me and the semi drivers who’d had the misfortune of getting the same early morning start that I had. My bar tab was higher than my hotel bill. I say that as a point of pride, and it shouldn’t be. I think it’s a reflexive habit to deflect how bored I was while trapped at that place.

Finally, on the third morning they removed the blockade from the highway. Man, I was only 30 minutes outside of the borders of Denver. I had been so close and yet so far away.

Driving into Denver was something that I had planned out excessively. I knew that I would be seeing the city from atop a mountain, and I had the perfect song for it. Nineteen Wheels was a semi-local band that we kew about and loved and never quite hit it big even though we expected them too. It was the same time the Verve Pipe came out with their Freshman song.

I played their song called Colorado, had the sun rising to my back and dawn’s light spilling over the town. I had to pull over and take it all in with a tear sliding down my cheek. It was a view I will never forget, no matter how hard my old age kicks in. I still dream about that moment.

I had a pleasant visit for two days there before continuing on to Salt Lake City, Utah, and then finally Phoenix, Arizona. That visit was my first. The second visit was when I moved there, also in 1998. It’s amazing how fast time goes sometimes.

So, somehow the word thunder took us from NHL hockey to a laundromat to me crying with joy on the side of the road.


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