The coming of spring brings us flowers, leaves on trees, outdoor sports, children playing in parks, and, of course, potholes.

After a dreadful winter (See photo for example) that even snowmen and snowwomen were complaining, the fruit of the weather are the potholes. And if you don't think that they're bad, I have my bill for a front-end alignment to prove it.

Of course, as Pennsylvanians we're used to the potholes, along with road construction. It makes you wonder if the state flower should be changed from the mountain laurel to the orange plastic traffic cone. I don't believe I've ever seen the state flower in person, but traffic cones ... Oh yeah!!!

I've hit more than my fair share of potholes. Apparently, one talent I lack (among many) is the ability to know when to zig instead of zag, and also to zag instead of zig. Sometimes I think I drive my car as well as I dance. (Not a pretty sight, believe me.)

There aren't too many towns (if any) that don't have potholes on side streets. Lots of them. Unfortunately, municipalities struggle with the money it costs to repair them and the lack of manpower. Street employees are at least half what they were 20, 30, 40 and more years ago. As the streets get older, the potholes grow.

In some cases, they're not just one or two potholes in one spot. It's like a whole garden of potholes arrived in time for spring. Did you ever stop on a side street, look at a big patch of potholes and wonder how to get around the patch? I know I have.

Do you take the chance and go straight through very slowly, or use your keen driving skills to bob and weave to and fro to avoid the worst ones? Those are the times I wish I was driving Speed Racer's Mach 5. Rev the engine, speed forward and hit button "A" on the steering wheel, extending the jacks under the car to jump over the pothole patch. Ah, to dream!!!

And sometimes you can't tell which are the worst ones? I've driven over some potholes expecting a big bounce and bang and hardly felt anything. Then you drive over one that looks innocuous and it's an eye-popping, teeth-clenching event where you're wondering if you lost part of the car's undercarriage. There is one pothole on Route 54 before the "Y" leaving Girardville that I seem to regularly hit. It's not that noticeable unless you drive over it. Bang!!!!

Is it just me or are the state highways filled with more potholes? They usually have them, but there seems to be so many more of them. And since you're driving faster on them, the impacts are worse. And it's so much fun to encounter them on a rainy night when you can't see them at all because it's dark and they're filled with water.

I guess we just have to grin and bear it until repairs are made. It's one of the prices we pay for living in Pennsylvania. Still, it's better than dealing with hurricanes and earthquakes.

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A young executive was leaving the office late one evening when he found the CEO standing in front of a shredder with a piece of paper in his hand.

"Listen," said the CEO, "this is a very sensitive and important document here, and my secretary has gone for the night. Can you make this thing work for me?"

"Certainly," said the young executive. He turned the machine on, inserted the paper, and pressed the start button.

"Excellent, excellent!" said the CEO, as his paper disappeared inside the machine. "I just need one copy."

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"I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a book."

- Groucho Marx

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Bert feared his wife, Peg, wasn't hearing as well as she used to and he thought she might need a hearing aid. Not quite sure how to approach her, he called the family doctor to discuss the problem.

The doctor told him there is a simple informal test the husband could perform to give him a better idea about her hearing loss.

"Here's what you do," said the doctor. "Stand about 40 feet away from her, and in a normal conversational speaking tone see if she hears you. If not, go to 30 feet, then 20 feet, and so on until you get a response."

That evening, the wife is in the kitchen cooking dinner, and he was in the den. He says to himself, "I'm about 40 feet away, let's see what happens."

Then in a normal tone he asks, "Honey, what's for dinner?"

No response.

So the husband moves closer to the kitchen, about 30 feet from his wife and repeats, "Peg, what's for dinner?"

Still no response.

Next he moves into the dining room where he is about 20 feet from his wife and asks, "Honey, what's for dinner?"

Again he gets no response.

So, he walks up to the kitchen door, about 10 feet away. "Honey, what's for dinner?"

Again there is no response.

So he walks right up behind her. "Peg, what's for dinner?"

(I just love this)

"For Heaven sake, Bert, for the FIFTH time, CHICKEN!"

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"What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like."

- St. Augustine of Hippo

(Staff writer Usalis can be reached at jusalis@republicanherald.com)