With this past week's frigid temperatures and rainy days, the weather duo has brought back memories of my childhood growing up in northwestern Michigan, just a couple of miles from Lake Michigan. Those who know me well have heard (ad nauseum, according to some) of the wild and crazy weather we had then.
Some friends don't believe me ... or they think I'm exaggerating. Not so. All too true.
My feet are cold, the first sign that winter has finally hit the South. Up North, we had snow on the ground from around Thanksgiving to around Easter, when we would have a final blast of freezing weather. And it snowed. A lot. A fresh foot or so stayed around even after the last freeze, when the crabapple trees would begin flowering.
It wasn't unusual for me to not be able to go to school occasionally during that period because the snow was piled up above the doors, encapsulating us.
It would get so cold you could hear the maple trees exploding as their sap (maple syrup, yum!) froze. The sound was very similar to the boom of a shotgun. We had a
Ben Franklin stove in our living room, right in front of the door. All winter, the scent of heating woolen mittens permeated the whole house. We didn't have indoor plumbing until I was five years old, having an outhouse about 50 feet from my bedroom's outer door. When the temperatures hovered from zero to minus-thirty or -forty below, we all had coffee cans under our beds for 'necessities.'
I didn't walk a mile to school ... I walked half a mile to the bus stop out at the paved highway and then rode the bus fifteen miles to school. I am a member of the Polar Bear club - we crazy kids broke through about eight inches of ice with an axe to swim in the freezing water, just to prove we could. When you're that young and innocent of ‘stuff that just happens,’ you do nutty things. Would I do it today, or any day in my adult life? No, certainly not. But six of us did, swearing to each other and on our friendships that we would never tell our parents, inherently knowing that they'd go ballistic. Well, as much as I miss my mom and dad every day, I never told. Until now.
As you get older, weather extremes are tolerated less well. After this week's weather, I'm cold.
I finally made my New Year's resolutions: I will smile more and worry less. I will better tolerate the things that annoy me. I will hold my friends and family close to my heart.
My sweet mother-in-law, Barbara Schenker is in the hospital and the outcome doesn't look good. I am praying that she will be comfortable and know she's loved. Two of my friends are going through some rough times, medically speaking. I can only hope and pray that they have success in their treatments in Tampa.