Friday, March 13, 2015

Goodbye, winter. Hello, spring! - March 12, 2015

As published in the White River Current - Thursday March 12, 2015

“Oh, the weather outside is frightful.”  Throw another log onto the fire.  Thank goodness spring is just around the corner, next week as a matter of fact, and on my birthday of all things.  I’ll be so glad when the cold, snowy, sleety, icy weather is behind us for another year.  This has been a winter that orthopedic surgeons live for.  For a while, I thought that spring might come a little early this year.  Then came the middle of February and everything hit the skids.  Snow and ice, mainly slick, broken bone ice.  I gave up early trying to shovel my driveway.  I wish I had kept up with the number of times that I heard “whatever happened to Global Warming?”  And, “it could always be worse; you might be living in Boston.”  Remarks like that are supposed to pep you up, I guess.  We have already dismissed church on two Sundays this year because of the weather  .  Highly unusual, but necessary to lessen the opportunity of someone slipping and breaking an arm or leg or having a car accident.  When I was a boy, the unspoken rule in my family was that we went to church regardless of the weather.  Sometimes it was only us and the preacher, but we did our spiritual duty.  I don’t recall anyone falling and we always made it home safely.  Of course, you must remember that I was brought up in the days when we walked to school five miles, barefoot through eight inches of snow, uphill both ways (actually it was only four inches) so we were well prepared for facing the elements on Sunday morning.  Nowadays, with the accurate weather forecasts, phone trees, radio newscasts and internet service, out congregation can be advised well in advance about cancellations of church services or other meetings.  Maybe a little unusual winter, but things could, of course, be worse, and they have been.  For example, back in the winter of 1918, over three feet of snow covered North Arkansas and the White River froze over.  I have heard eyewitness accounts from my parents that things got so bad during a six week period mourners were unable to dig a grave to bury a loved one who had passed away.  I remember the winter of 1951 when the mercury descended to a minus 15.  I read somewhere that the all-time low for Arkansas is minus 22.  Sounds more like Fairbanks than Calico Rock. How about the ice storm of 2009.  We were still living in Missouri, but I heard things got pretty critical for a couple of weeks.  However, it has been a pretty rough winter, especially during February, which I heard was the coldest 28 days in over three decades.  Every thirty years is not too bad and it  does give us a little something different to talk about.  I have always had a hunch that the grocery store people are behind scaring us with these predictions of huge snow amounts.  Ever notice how milk and bread fly off the grocery shelves when the “s” word is mentioned?  I brought this up recently to the new Harp’s manager, Nate, and he didn’t deny it, so there just may be some truth to it.  The snowfall that we had last week was very beautiful and, thankfully, it was mostly gone in a few days.  I am enjoying these 60 degree days.  Let me transition here and go to next week and spring and my birthday.  Now I must insist, NO Gifts Please.  March is birthday month for several members of my family.  Very often I go into a deep depression for ten days after celebrating my birthday.  You see, for that ten day period, I’m as old as Harold Jeffery.  Scary, isn’t it?  Usually after March 30th, I recover rapidly and everything returns to normal for another year.  Anyway, goodbye old man winter.  You were kinda hard on us this year so remember to treat us a little kinder when you return in December.  While I’m in a complaining mood, I find it very aggravating  to have to get out of bed at 2 AM twice a year to reset my clocks, one hour forward in the spring and one hour back in the fall.  It  messes up my metabolism and takes me about six months to settle things down when I have to go through it again.  We went for centuries without having to fool with changing the time and I think we can do it again.  What do you readers think?   

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