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  • John M. Campbell

Keep the Shiny Side Up

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

Also known as "Dry Pavement," I think this poem is an appropriate reminder when driving on snowy roads like this day in Denver. The temperature will plummet to less than zero tonight, and I am reminded of a time I was driving my family in our van back to Denver one winter day. We were returning from a Christmas visit to relatives in Illinois. The plows had done a good job clearing the interstate of snow, and the sun had come out to melt the piles on the edge of the road. Some of this snowmelt ventured onto the pavement, and when the sun went down it froze. As the road tilted up toward an overpass, we hit the ice patch and slid sideways toward the offramp. Fearing a spinout (or worse) if I tried to correct the slide, I aligned the wheels for the offramp, and we sped down the unplowed offramp through eight-inch-deep snow. We came to a halt at the bottom of the ramp with the shiny side up. I proceeded across the road and up the onramp to resume our trip to Denver, remarking to my wife that "my mother doesn't need to hear about this."

Keep the Shiny Side Up

Dry pavement:

Dry pavement is the best.

For safety and security

Then dry beats all the rest.

But if you can't have dry, you bet,

The next best thing to dry is wet.

Wet pavement:

Wet pavement in the rain.

When temperatures are warm enough

Then wet will keep you sane.

But if you can't have wet, you know,

The next best thing to rain is snow.

Snow-packed roads:

Snow-packed roads on cold days,

When snow is squeaking 'neath your wheels,

It keeps you safe from glaze.

But if you can't have snow, it's nice

To have most anything but ice.

Ice-glazed roads:

Ice-glazed roads are the worst.

So if you drive on ice get your

Insurance paid up first.

As certainly as life's a bitch,

You'll end up stranded in a ditch.


Ditch-stranded has you cursing.

Especially lying on your side

Your pride will need some nursing.

You'll ask yourself the reason why

You could not wait 'til roads were dry.

John M. Campbell

January 2001

Next poem: At the Great Sand Dunes

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