I was out in the back yard a short time ago raking up the "fertilizer" the dogs
so generously deposit every day. It's chilly for Central FL, but not cold. Sweater or jacket kind of chilly. The kind when a cup of hot coffee or tea tastes extra good.
Some people here are complaining about this weather and how it is "too cold." But, to me, after growing up in Virginia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana and 18 years in the Chicago area (Dad was in the Navy and we moved a lot), there are major differences between chilly and cold. Cold is when you try to breathe through your nose and your nostrils stick together or when you have to warm your car key with a lighter in order to get it into a frozen door lock.
In 1972, a year after Dad retired from service and he and Mom and my younger brother moved to Orlando, I sat in an apartment in the northwestern suburbs of Chicago, the heat on full blast, and with full body thermal underwear on beneath sweat pants and a sweat shirt as I tried to stay warm while wind chills dipped far below zero.
The phone rang. It was Mom and Dad. "We saw on TV about the cold temperatures in Chicago," Mom said, "and we wanted you to know it got cold here last night, too. It got down into the 60s and we had to turn the air conditioning off."
Oh, if only I could have reached through the telephone lines right then!
So I simply call this weather we're having, chilly.
Then, about 1979 or so we were hit with unbelievable wind chills of 20-40 degrees below zero. I was in the Army Reserves at the time and went out one Saturday morning at 5:30 to leave for drill duty. It was so cold (here Ed McMahon, Johhny Carson's sidekick would ask, "HOW cold was it?") that when I sat down in the car, the leather seat cracked
. That was from cold, not chilly weather.
And I can't count the number of times I was pushed or pushed another car out of a snowbank or slipped on snow covered icy sidewalks or spent an hour shoveling snow from around my car so I could get to it, or putting a blanket over the engine at night to trap some heat so it wouldn't freeze.
Oh, yeah, I know a lot of tricks to deal with the cold.
But cold can have unexpected benefits, too
. Like when I was perhaps 10 years old and Dad was stationed in Athens, GA. We lived in a house down the street from several college sororities. As I walked past one of their houses one day I was taken by surprise as I stared at the first and only snow woman
I had seen, in explicit detail using red hot candies for certain upper body parts
. There I stood like the uninformed dolt I was, staring at that wonderful creation
. It took cold weather to allow that experience.
I will sit here enjoying a cup of hot coffee
and be thankful for the chilly weather. While I do not wish to have to contend with heavy snow again and dislike FL's high summer temperatures
and miss seeing colored leaves on trees, I do not foresee an opportunity to move.
So I will appreciate the chilly, not cold, temperatures and be grateful I don't have to warm up the car for half an hour while I scrape ice off of the windshield. And I will not call any friends up north and gloat about turning off the A/C. But I will always wonder if those sorority houses are still there in Athens and if a snow woman continues to grace their front lawns when the cold and snow hits.
Hmm, now that I think about it, that's not too far a drive
from Orlando. I guess I can find thermal underwear somewhere along the way, don't you?