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Beware the Black Cat

It shouldn’t have bothered me. After all, I don’t believe in superstitions. You know the one about the black cat crossing your path. But this time, it kind of had me worried. Why on this beautiful, barely dawn of a day would a black cat decide to make his or her appearance in front of my Jeep. The sun was hinting at a new day. Streaks of orange were kissing the horizon, urging the dark of the previous night away. And there was the cat.

In fairness, the cat was more of the tuxedo variety with a white face and underbelly. Nevertheless, the feline took its sweet time making its way across the narrow country road. I wasn’t afraid that I would hit the animal because I tend to poke along now that the fall season has robbed the day of sunny mornings. That, too, will change soon with the turning back of the clocks.

As I studied the animal, it stopped close to the row of bushes it would soon duck into. It turned and gave me a look, as if to say, this is my road, too. I chuckled to myself. The cat was right, you know. No one owns this road more than Mother Nature.

Heading out to the interstate, I hesitated. Last weekend’s multiple crash that killed two people was still fresh in my mind and on my heart. No one should have to die that way.

I began to question the route into downtown Wheeling via Interstate 70 west, wondering if, we the public, would outrun any dangers that might lurk in its crumbling infrastructure. It’s something I feel we should be able to take for granted. Highways officials said it’s bad, but they have a plan to make it right again. The sight of the monstrous construction crane now towering alongside the highway was a pretty good indication of what is to come.

I remember the day Interstate 70 through Wheeling was completed. My father was among the so-called dignitaries to drive through the then-sparkling bright Wheeling Tunnel. It was a monumental day with a great celebration. I also recall the first time, as a newly licensed 16-year-old, I drove along the interstate and then through the tunnel. I was scared to death, but I made it.

Now 49 years later, I am faced with learning to “drive” all over again to get across the Ohio River to an Ohio destination. It will be a challenge but I am going to be brave and figure it out. Black cats and all!

Ziegler can be reached via email at hziegler@theintelligencer.net.

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