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Cold weather has its own rewards

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Maybe we're just tougher than folks on the East Coast.

Through this past winter, I've grown increasingly annoyed by the whining done by the television news anchors about the brutal winter conditions they've faced.

Saturday morning, the temperature plummeted (plummeted!) to 10 degrees in New York. Lester Holt, after moaning, and exclaiming about the cold, explained that the NBC costume department had filled every nook and cranny of his outfit with disposable hand warmers.

Good grief, man! When we wake up to 10 degrees (above zero, mind you!) on a January morning, we enjoy the heat wave.

Here in the Midwest, the real whining starts when the afternoon high doesn't rise above 10 below.

I must admit, as I age, I get less enthused about Iowa's frigid winter. Those snowbirds, who leave in late October, and return in April, begin to look smarter and smarter. I begin to daydream about possible winter homes.

Then I think about the things I really love about winter. And the things I'd miss. Most of these, you'll note, are interior joys. I still don't like numb fingers and toes.

I would miss the first, tentative flakes of snow that fly through the autumn air; the frosty December mornings, when the rough edges of the world are softened by a coating of white frost.

I'd miss the first cold winter night when I've exchanged the crisp cotton sheets for soft, warm flannel.

Russian tea, that concoction of tea, orange, lemonade, cinnamon and just a touch of cloves, is my warm up of choice on cold winter nights. It wouldn't taste nearly as delicious if the thermometer read 68 degrees.

Sunday afternoon naps seem a waste of daylight in the summer. In the winter, I give myself a free pass to make like the bears and hibernate for an hour at a time.

The smell of beef stew, slow roasting the afternoon away, is strictly a winter pleasure.

And, are travel magazines nearly as much fun in the summer? What good is daydreaming about blue Caribbean waters and soft, talcum powder beaches, when the breeze is balmy where you are and beaches abound a short drive away?

No, dream vacations are best planned, in your mind if not in reality, when the winds are howling, the temperature plummeting, and the snow lies heavy on the ground.

Could we enjoy all those things just as much if the temperature was 20 above instead of 20 below? Probably. But where's the adventure in that?

Paula Buenger
Publisher