Never take things or people for grantedBeing stuck in an elevator gives writer time to think about what’s important in life
By: By Don Leighton, For The Telegram, Superior Telegram
The following is another “Have Fun or Get Out of the Way” column by award-winning Don Leighton and his alter ego, Lance Boyle, which runs occasionally in The Superior Telegram.
So, how was your first day of summer? After record rainfall on the last day of spring, I say, “good riddance.”
My condolences to all who had loss and damage due to the deluge that proves one thing. Maybe Noah knew what he was doing. Can you imagine the damage 40 days and 40 nights of a continual downpour can do?
We certainly take for granted much that we have. There are many to thank for making it easy for us to not have a first thought, let alone a second thought, for how lucky we are. Complaining and not enjoying life are not part of Lance Boyle’s philosophy. The glass is always half full. If you’re not happy with your life, then do something to change it. And, as always, “Have Fun or get out of the Way.”
The early hours of my first day of summer were spent with my son, Chris. As my kids get older and have their own lives to live, I value the time I am able to spend with him and his sister, my daughter, Alexa. I am not unlike every other parent who loves spending time with their kids. Sometimes, how and where you spend time with them is not within your control. As we age, those visits are too infrequent.
At approximately 1 a.m. on Wednesday, Chris and I were at the National Bank of Commerce doing some cleaning and making sure there was no water damage in the building. When we had completed our tasks, we entered the elevator to ascend from the basement to the first floor.
As I pushed the proper button, I remarked to Chris, “Maybe one of us should take the stairs in case the elevator quits working.”
I shouldn’t have said that. Before another breath was taken, the elevator came to a screeching halt and water could be heard below us. The rain was so intense that the sump pump could not keep up with the entering water. This invasion of water overpowered the pump and said water rendered the elevator useless and motionless between the basement and first floors. Thankfully the emergency phone worked and our cell phones had a signal.
To make a long and eventful story short, we were able to contact one of my best friends in the whole world, Bobbi Dumonsau of NBC, who braved the terrible driving conditions and arrived in 15 minutes. Through doors we could not open, she assured us we would not die. That was awfully nice of her. She is now in my will. She called the fire department and four of the greatest human beings I know arrived within minutes. (When they heard it was Lance Boyle and little Lance trapped, they knew the importance of their task at hand.)
All of my “new best friends in the whole world” worked their tails off to help us out of our almost watery tomb. You see, the water was continuing to rise and about ready to start entering our nice, dry compartment. Time was of the essence. The emergency key was nowhere to be found. Using their collective knowledge and skill, our four heroes were able to open the doors, drop a ladder to us and pull us to safety.
I got to spend a couple of hours with my son where neither of us was distracted by the television or the ability to leave for some reason. Remember, the glass is always half full, so, I resigned myself to the facts: we were trapped in an elevator; we would get out alive because some great professionals were not going to let anything happen to us; I would be able to tell you all about the experience: and, yes, my son would be able to leave for the Twin Cities, provided the highway was not closed, to catch a plane with his girlfriend for a week’s vacation to Boston.
We would like to thank our four heroes, Vern Johnson, Jim Lehikoinen, Joe Tribbey and Lindzi Campbell of the Superior Fire Department. Their response, professionalism, and eventual success are indicative of each shift they work. For them, failure is not an option.
Remember when I mentioned taking things for granted? Firefighters, the police, all who serve in a branch of our military, and those who risk their lives for us on a daily basis must never be taken for granted or not treated with the utmost of dignity and respect.
Thanks, from the bottom of the Boyles’ hearts. Let these great people know how much they are appreciated. Tell our city officials how much they are needed and how much they mean to Superior.
So, did you hear the one about the seal who escaped from the zoo? He tried to hitch a ride on Grand Avenue in Duluth but nobody would pick him up. Everybody who passed him by thought he was waving since they didn’t see a thumb. (Hitch hikers use their thumb, and seals don’t have thumbs but have flippers. Get it? Sorry.)
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