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Upswing On the Arrival of the New Year After A Period of Protracted Suffering by Susan Koefod

After we cleaned up the dog’s vomited morning announcement from our bed, the rug, and elsewhere, and put the sheets, bedspreads, pillowcases, and pillows in the wash, and we’d vowed to never again let the dog chew and ingest the bark from our firewood;

And after the mechanic cleaned out the wad of dog hair from our car’s air filter— obviously placed there by a cold, opportunistic mouse family— and paid our car repair bill, and we vowed to never again comb the dog in the garage, and never again to park our cars there;

And after we’d purchased a new charger cord for one of the kids' brand new Christmas-gift devices, because our child had not learned yet that the cat must be banned from her room when she is charging her devices—

“I looked away for ONLY a second!” she declared— even though that same cat had chewed apart numerous similar device-charging cords, and we’d learned how expensive such replacement parts are, and told her how expensive such replacement parts are, and we vowed that THIS TIME the child would pay for her own new charging cord, and we vowed that THIS TIME we would encase the new charger cord in industrial-strength split-wire loom tubing; we’d grown mighty hungry.

We spotted the Culver’s, And saw that our guy, Jerry — big, overweight, bald Jerry — was manning the register, and this was our first positive sign.

Jerry knows how to expertly split our order exactly as we wish, and Jerry understands what we mean when we want the crumbled blue cheese, and Jerry makes sure we get the extra cup to split our chocolate banana shake, a plastic knife to cut our burger in half.

While we waited quietly and hungrily at our table for our order, two old guys — about our age, we have to admit — chatted at a table nearby, mumbling through mouthfuls of Butter Burgers and onion rings in that nasally, aging Minnesota accent. One said to the other,

“I heard it’s snowing in Bismarck.” That’s when we knew, for sure, that things were looking up.