Time to migrate

With the ice closing in on the rivers and lakes up here in Drizzle Creek District, it about time to either go into hibernation or migrate.
My wife, the Pearl of the Orient, says since I’m a grumpy old bear and have a pretty good roll of fat around my middle, hibernation probably would be my best bet. But on the other hand, she needs someone to chauffeur her south, so migration is the better option.
With that decision behind us, I have been working on my driving skills so I’ll fit in with the standard mix of drivers in the Deep South.
You’d think the rules of the road would be universal, but they’re not. Once that salt air off the gulf hits you, your brain (as well as the finish on your car) begins to rot at an increased rate. Here’s the scenario:
For the first 500 miles, the status quo continues. You use your signal lights, drive in the proper lane, and keep a sensible speed of 15 m.p.h. (no km/h here . . . we’re in the U.S.) over the speed limit. This is, of course, if the road and driving conditions are good and the traffic light.
If it is snowing, or better yet freezing drizzle, with limited visibility and bumper-to-bumper traffic, it’s pedal to the metal with one foot hovering over the brake as you watch for brake lights about 10 cars ahead.
The noise beside me is the Pearl, her head covered with a veil, wailing “Hail Mary’s.”
By the time you hit Nashville, things have mellowed out a bit. With a country music station (there are no other genres near Nashville) blaring full blast, you crack a window and inhale deeply the warm, humid smog rising off the river.
The traffic’s still heavy, so you keep the hammer down and weave from lane to lane in a well-choreographed automotive ballet.
Use of the signal lights ceased someplace north of the Tennessee line. Their only function now is to keep time to the beat of “I walk the line.”
Finally, you hit the hill country of Alabama and northern Florida. Off the Interstate now, you search behind every clump of brush and tree for stop signs and reduced speed limits.
You can bet Sheriff Buford T. Belly, or one of his deputies, will be on the hunt to bolster the county’s pension fund.
If stopped, you’ll need a translator—as even Jeff Foxworthy couldn’t understand the redneck dialect spoken in these parts.
As the coast comes into sight, your worries evaporate. Back amongst your own kind, you only have to watch out for the occasional “rebel” plate. All the rest are from Ontario or Michigan. But remember, dawdle in the passing lane and don’t use your signal lights—that would only confuse the issue.
Back in Drizzle Creek at the Bakery, the winter will pass, as it should. Lies at the debating table will be of the most profound nature.
Pickle finally managed the bag a deer (a month after the fact, it has gained 100 pounds and 10 points). The Runt will keep the long john population in the pastry shelf under control.
Dr. Goodwrench will continue to evade meaningful employment and Tiny Tookalook will be patrolling the side streets and back alleys (watch for the footprints under your window).
The only one missing other than yours truly will be Moose. He’s off to Ottawa to advise Stephen Heartless and Jim Flabbergast on how to make friends and influence people.
If you’re down at the beach, make sure you drop around for a visit. You know the address, right?
Otherwise, see you in the spring.

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