HERE COMES MR. FRIENDLY!

If you know only one thing about Iowa, you know it’s famous for its potatoes. Or, that it’s the future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk.

You’d be wrong about the potatoes — you’re thinking of Idaho — but right about Kirk.

If you know two things about Iowa, you know it’s incredibly flat. That’s partly true, but not around Dubuque, where I used to live.

One time there, while driving on a steep and narrow hillside road, a huge truck suddenly barreled around the bend — straddling the center line and closing in fast. I didn’t see my life flash before my eyes. What I saw, painted on the panel above the truck’s cab, was a cheerful cartoon character and his jaunty slogan, “Here comes Mr. Friendly!”

I was staring Death in the face — and Death was smiling back. And waving.

I laughed out loud.

We’ll meet again one day, I know. Maybe not in the land of Captain Kirk and imagined potato fields, but somewhere.

See you then, Mr. Friendly.

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