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Another Rainy Friday Night

Friday night and it was raining — again. Not just a shower, but a steady, pounding rain that pinged off the hood of my car as I foolishly stopped for gas. I had no choice as the gas gauge was sinking into the sunset of its life.

So I stood, gratefully, under the cover provided at the pumps and fed my gas tank. I gave up trying to stay dry as the rain blew around. As I finished and stepped back into the driver’ seat, I noticed a young man, maybe in his early 20s, exit the gas station office. He pulled his hood up around his head as he leaned against the building as the rain pelted around him. He was attempting to light a cigarette in the rain and wind. He was not successful. He looked forlorn on this wicked night to be out and about.

As I left the gas station, I saw that the young man now was leaning into a doorway on a vacant house. I thought it was sad how the young man was spending his Friday night in Wheeling. I remembered my younger years when “after work” on Fridays meant a much-earned trip to a favorite watering hole, dance club or restaurant. It was a way to wash down the dust of the work week. Yet on this particular cold, miserable, rain-swept night, all I could think about was getting home to a warm cup of tea as my spouse dozes off in his easy chair.

I, too, am lucky if I can keep my eyes open long enough to watch Blue Bloods at 10 p.m. on Friday nights. I blame it on the lack of sunlight all through winter.

I say bring on the longer, brighter days of spring and you will have to drag me into the house after sunset. Soon, I tell myself, the lawn chairs will come out, people will once again be heading to the waterfront for concerts and festivals. The Centre Market area will be abuzz with people, music and laughter on weekend nights. Dining will move outdoors and the grills will be firing up.

The walking trails on both sides of the river will be busier than ever as people leave behind the winter coats and dust off the walking and running shoes. May will bring the return of the Ogden Newspapers Wellness Weekend on Memorial Day weekend, kicking off the official summer season.

It’s just a matter of time. Until then, I am impatient for the rain to stop and give me back those Friday nights of my youth.

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

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