Ickes: Turning drear into cheer
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Ickes: Turning drear into cheer

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The Gloom and Doom twins are getting too much attention.

Let them sit on the bench for a while. You might be surprised how much cheer is right under our hands-off noses.

Here are a few shareable smiles:

• Aisha Praught Leer is the rock-star runner from Moline who competed in the steeplechase at the Olympic games in Brazil in 2016.

A dual citizen, Aisha switched from the U.S. to the Jamaican Olympic team several years ago and was on the roster to compete in Tokyo this summer in the 1500m and 5000m in women's track.

Her parents, Jerome and Molly Praught, are my neighbors and dear friends. They shared Aisha’s remarks upon learning the COVID-related news of the decision to delay the 2020 Tokyo Games.

"Tokyo Olympics are postponed. Yes, I feel a lot,” Aisha wrote. “Overwhelmingly, what prevails in my mind are the lives and livelihoods of others.

“It is the right choice. We are the lucky ones. Our losses as athletes do not compare to what is happening globally.

“Please do not feel sorry for me. Instead, be extra kind and compassionate to others and STAY HOME. We are all in this together. #Tokyo2021.”

By my math, this is roughly the 1,000th reason to be proud of “our” little Olympian.

• This occurred to me Monday morning as I crossed the Interstate 74 bridge into Bettendorf: Wouldn’t it be great if Monday’s commute was the last sloppy, snowy, slushy drive across the old crash trap, ever?

If spring truly is upon us, we may never again have to drive the narrow, shoulderless Iowa-bound span of the existing bridge when snow or sleet transforms it into a collision course.

By next winter-weather season, we should be cruising confidently and comfortably over the shiny new four-lane, Iowa-bound span.

• On another happy note, it’s been encouraging to see so many people finding clever ways to pass time during the COVID-19 Cabin Feverpalooza.

One favorite was seeing the large number of Quad-Citians who are taking advantage of the extra time at home to adopt and get acquainted with shelter dogs and cats.

It truly is a great time to adopt or foster, because we have the time needed for new pets to train us.

• This one is an offering, original or borrowed, from the Silvis Fire Department’s Facebook page: “Times like these are trying for everyone. However, they are especially difficult for kids. They don't understand why they have to stay inside. They don't understand why they can't play with their friends. They don't understand why their birthday party is cancelled.

"Do you live in Silvis and have a child under 12 that will be celebrating a birthday while we are practicing social distancing? Let us know. We can bring a fire truck by your home on your child's birthday. We will stop in front of your home and turn the lights and sirens on to wish your child a happy birthday.

"Contact Chief Winters at 309-792-4815 to arrange a fire truck birthday greeting.”

(I'm not crying; you're crying.)

• In another pandemic positive, my sister, Karen, reminded me of a fun way to spend time indoors when you have too much of it to spend: Dig out the old Wii console.

Mine is about 14 years old and the most high-mileage game is, hands down, bowling. My family and friends bowled with the gusto of a beer league.

The tennis game was popular, too, but it required multiple remotes (Wii-motes) to be simultaneously operational, and the batteries in those things lasted about 24 hours. It was easier to share a remote or two and bowl till we dropped.

In fact, I recall many Monday mornings, going back to work and barely being able to lift my bowling arm above my waist.

Though the game is still a blast, the part about going back to work on Monday mornings is strangely cheerful, too. 

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