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A good woman made internationally known by a driveway pothole

By: Keith Kappes
Columnist
Carter County Times

This story started many years ago when a puddle developed into a pothole in the asphalt driveway of our home. 

After a year or two of steady growth from summer rain and winter snow and ice, I grew tired of my wife complaining about it so I decided to fix it. And I would give it a name to tease her. 

Hence, the first “Lake Janet” was born. Each spring, we patched it with one or two or three bags of ready-mix concrete and one of the kids volunteered to imprint the name of the puddle in the fresh concrete. 

“Lake Janet” became a family tradition at our home and I believe my wife secretly liked having her name inscribed on her parking spot in the driveway. But her fame eventually would not survive a Mother’s Day gift from our sons. 

She and I went out of town for a few days and when we returned the old patchwork driveway had been replaced by a gleaming, wider concrete driveway. But there was no low place to be designated as “Lake Janet”. 

She pretended that preserving “Lake Janet” was not important to her but I knew otherwise. 

Some years later, one of those sons built a new home in a neighboring county and created a small lake as a landscape feature. I asked if I could name the lake and he agreed. 

At that point, I went online and found a sign company that makes attractive, metal signs. So, ‘Lake Janet” would be reborn again with a nifty sign that could be mounted on a tree.

The sign arrived several days later and Janet was there when I proudly opened the package and told her of my intentions. Again, she said it was not a big deal but our grandkids likely would be pleased. 

Today, the name and impoundment year of “Lake Janet” are available to the entire world because the sign company features her sign in its Internet advertising. Sometimes, you can see it at mysecuritysigns.com. 

Instead of making a mountain out of a molehill, I like to think we’ve made an almost-famous lake out of a mudhole…just to honor the woman we love.

Keith Kappes can be reached at keithkappes@gmail.com

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