Dec 172013

The official start of winter is still days away, yet most of Indiana is cold and snow covered. Even my town in southwestern Indiana, which rarely gets the big snows, experienced an early December storm.

Last week was the kind of week that, in 1982, made me escape Indiana for the warmer weather of Pinellas County, Florida. Nineteen eighty-two brought multiple weather horrors to northeastern Indiana. Snow and ice pelted us for weeks, followed by the inescapable rise of Fort Wayne’s three rivers. Then, the 100-year-flood arrived.

I worked for Indiana-Purdue at Fort Wayne in University Relations. If managers were unavailable, I arrived early and called school cancellations to the local radio stations. The process then required using a special password—frequently changed so students couldn’t figure it out and call in their own cancellation.

My apartment was two miles from campus, and I was fortunate enough to have a garage. There’s a caveat, however. I couldn’t afford a garage door opener.  The garage went unused in the winter.

The inevitable west winds blew several feet of snow against the garage door. No city slow plow rounded the corner, with garage access behind my building.

This meant I usually left my stylish, suave 1981 maroon Chevette in on-street parking overnight, and shoveled it out, before traversing on the plowed front street.

Show me a person who likes to shovel snow, and I’ll show you someone who has a big tractor with a super-sized blade.

That winter did me in. I found a job in Clearwater, Florida, and I moved away, gray kitty in tow.

Six years later I was back with a husband, a canary, and the same gray kitty.

I am a Hoosier, and no amount of warmed blood and sugary-soft white sand between my toes will change that. It is, however, my birth right to complain about it.

Maybe it isn’t such a bad idea for the world to just stop now and then. I’m not suggesting we all move to an ice hut without heat or power, but recapturing some of the joy of a snow day in hearts as hard as Dr. Seuss’ Grinch might not be a bad idea.

Cold weather brings esoteric joys to adults, also. How about a warm, homemade hot chocolate (not from a paper bag with a mix) from the real thing?  Steaming in a favorite cup is best, with just a touch of peppermint schnapps for extra heartiest against the cold.  If the enhanced hot chocolate doesn’t work for you, how about a big bowl of homemade vegetable soup? Nothing tastes better than hot broth laced with carrots, potatoes, celery, peas and corn on a cold day.

May your holidays and your heart be warm with the love of family and friends.

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