What I did on MY Labor Day weekend

Weekly column by PC Record-Times journalist Mark DeLap

I have now been in Wyoming for six months. I am a little concerned that there are only two seasons with characteristics OF those seasons.

I was introduced to spring with an 8” snowfall in April, and technically it is not autumn until Sept. 22, so yeah, we just had a summer snowfall, and I have lived many places, but have never experienced that.

Now I am discerning whether it’s COVID or Wyoming. Perhaps it’s a bit of both.

Nevertheless, I have thoroughly enjoyed the holidays here so far, well...  right up until the Labor Day weekend. I could just stop there, but you know I won’t.

They say that you have bad days to make the good days seem even better. My good days are just fine the way they are, thank you very much. But on my magical journey to Wyoming, it rained on my parade… well, actually, it snowed.

Labor Day. Still summer. And it snowed.

Actually, mine started with a teaching last Friday about Dollar General peanut butter and how you really need to be aware of expiration dates. Granted, I bought that jar in Iowa in 2019, but I just figured there was no shelf life on peanut butter. I was wrong.

And I paid the price. Not once, but evidently, it takes me twice going down an uncomfortable path to learn lessons. Something about God having to knock me off my horse or hit me in the head with a brick.

So. I love to eat a spoonful of the nutty goodness with cheap protein before I run. I cracked open the new (old) peanut butter two weeks ago and thought nothing of the debilitating sickness that was going through my body eight hours after the ingestion that gave me severe indigestion and had me quarantined to the bathroom. I couldn’t identify the source of the irritation and after I survived, I went on with my life as if my body hadn't just given up items from my intestinal track that had been there since fifth grade.

Friday, I was out of protein bars. I thought to myself, “no problem, I have some tasty peanut butter,” and went on a very early run. That old familiar sinking feeling began coming back as I was in “midstream” doing an interview for next week’s paper.

By the time I got home, which I barely made by the skin of my teeth, almost broke my key off in the lock, threw off articles of clothing as I was literally running to the bathroom and slid to a place of safety for an appointment with my second round of cleansing. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t pleasant.

But I did have time to ponder where my life was going and how it was that God was so merciful to get me to my spot in the nick of time. I kept remembering that on that day, I was rushed with writing and photographs so I didn’t have time for lunch. The only thing I ate that day was that fateful spoon of expired peanut butter before my early morning run.

At “halftime” of the activities I was involved in, I took a road trip to the kitchen, which in itself had to accompanied by pink chalky medicine and aspirin. I found my reading spectacles and it didn’t help. I never found the expiration date.

I did research on the internet and found the following:

“An open jar of peanut butter stays fresh up to three months in the pantry. After that, it's recommended to store the peanut butter in the fridge (where it can maintain its quality for another 3-4 months). If you don't refrigerate, oil separation can occur.”

Oh. Oil separation occurred all right. But I won’t go into the gory details.

I did a lot of research and am now a resident expert on expiration dates, peanut butter and food poisoning. The illness itself does provide a lot of time for internet research.

Like, “It usually takes about 1 to five days to recover fully from food poisoning,” according to Summit Medical Group online.

On Sunday I had to shoot photos in Guernsey.  I was well medicated with stomach medicine and felt that even in the heat, I’d be OK. After the 1132 pictures I took, I rushed to my car and headed to Hartville where my editor said it was mandatory to cover the Hartville Labor Day picnic. Cool. I just wasn’t going to eat anything.

About halfway up Highway 270, the road seemed extremely rough and then I smelled rubber burning. I didn’t know if it was my stomach or the vehicle. It was the vehicle. A blown tire. 100 degrees. Labor Day weekend. Guess how long the wait times were for a tow truck in those conditions?

I kind of lucked out and only spent two hours in the middle of highway 270 with cars traveling at an alarming rate of speed and my good friend and State Patrol Trooper, Danny Robinett showed up with his cruiser out of nowhere and babysat me until the wrecker arrived which towed the car back to Wheatland with me in the back seat of the tow truck.

Well… I must answer your questions with the following answer. I’d never had a flat tire with this car before and no, I didn’t realize that it had no spare tire.

To make a long story short, $250 for the two, $200 for the tire which had to be imported evidently and not available until two days AFTER Labor day. But, in every cloud, there is a silver lining, and though my car was under a foot of snow, it was up on jacks, so I never had to drive in the insanity of a summer snowfall.

And my question to all of you would be, back to the beginning of this oration. “Does it snow often in during the summer in Wyoming?”



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