MY DEATH WALK

Let me tell you about my walk to work Saturday morning in a raging blizzard. At 6am I left my house for the five block walk to the radio station. That’s right, only five blocks! I wasn’t prepared for how difficult the next fifteen minutes were going to be. It wasn’t snowing out, but it was the northwest wind at 30 mph, with gusts around 45 that almost did me in.

I work the Saturday morning shift at KLQP radio. We had some nasty weather Friday with lots of cancellations. It continued into Saturday with a blizzard warning. I usually don’t go into work until around 8am Saturdays, but with the weather the way it was I knew there would be a number of postponements and cancellations to get on the air early. So my plan was to go in around 6 o’clock.

Laying in bed Saturday morning I could hear the wind howling and thought I better get up and get to the radio station. I dressed warm and put on my Yukon hat and was ready to go. I opened the garage door and walked out my front door. It was still dark out and while walking down my front steps I immediately realized I was not going to get my car out of the garage because of the large drifts in my driveway. I didn’t have time to snowblow the driveway so I made the decision to walk to the radio station.

From my house to the radio station is five blocks. I walked down my driveway through two large drifts. I just bought some new snow boots and I’m glad I had them on. When I got to the street, 4th Ave had already been plowed. That was a good thing because it meant easy walking down the middle of the street. It actually was pretty out with all the freshly white snow and the street lights still on.

Main street Madison

There are a number of ways to walk from my house to the radio station. As I got to the end of the block I noticed the east and west street hadn’t been plowed yet, thus making it difficult to walk that way. So I continued onto the next block heading toward St. Michael’s Church. While walking that block I began to get cold fast. The wind was really blowing hard and the wind chill was way below zero. I reached the intersection at St. Michael’s and turned west towards main street.

The second I turned west, the cold strong wind hit me in the face like a Mike Tyson knockout punch! Making it worse was the street hadn’t been plowed. The first few steps were brutal, trudging through deep snow. I decided to turn my back and walk backwards toward main street. That wasn’t working so well and so I turned back around into the stiff, cold wind. It was then I began breathing heavily and thinking I’m not going to make it to the radio station.

Just then I saw two snowplows coming at me a few blocks away. Still dark out I began to try and move out of the way, fearing they’re not going to see me. The first snow plow went right by me and the second plow stopped to talk to me. I thought he was going to offer me a ride, but nope! I couldn’t make out what the driver was saying to me because of the noise of the truck. I waved and continued to walk toward main street. The best thing now was the snowplow had made it easier for me to walk in the street.

I got to main street and had to stop walking and take a break. I was exhausted and very cold. My legs felt like rubber. Main street was quiet and peaceful looking, not a person or car could be found as I was looking toward the courthouse. The Madison city crew was on the other end of main street cleaning up. Madison’s main street is very picturesque with the Lac qui Parle Court House on the north end. I had to get my phone out and take some pictures. It’s what I do, even though I was in pain and exhausted.

Madison city crew

I had one block to go! I said to myself one step at a time! I can make it. The radio station was in sight! When I reached the front door I was so happy! I said to myself I made it! I opened the front door and walked inside and collapsed on the couch completely exhausted! I just laid there for about 10 minutes recovering from my walk in the blizzard. Being out of shape might have contributed to my almost demise! It took me a full hour to recover.

I was feeling sorry for myself when around 8:30 my co worker 77 year old Dick Newman walked into the station looking like someone who had just reached the North Pole. Face-mask and all and covered with frost and snow! Dick had walked from his house to the radio station in the blizzard too! Almost a mile walk! I was in shock that he would do that. He took his jacket and coveralls off and didn’t seem exhausted at all. 77 years old!! I felt embarrassed and ashamed that I almost succumbed to the elements and it didn’t even bother my 77 year old friend and colleague. I am committing to getting in shape!

Main street Madison

My walk home was better. I FaceTime with my wife all the way home! Just in case I collapsed she would know where I could be found!

Tony Ourada - State Farm ad
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