It’s Wisconsin, so it’s going to be cold

Wherever I go these days, people are saying, “It’s cold.” First of all, I already knew that. I was out in it, also, but perhaps I had gloves on — my coat zipped. And if I am going to be outside for any length of time or if it is windy, I also have a warm hat on my head.

How do I know that it is cold? Well, the weather forecasters have been claiming doom and gloom for the past couple of weeks. Even when the temperature is to get up into the teens or even 20s, they say the wind chill will still be serious, and it won’t feel warmer.

Now, they are the experts. They have some types of degrees from their years of study, plus they have access to computer models. They understand about jet streams and the like. Somehow, they forgot that in Wisconsin, at this time of year, cold is possible. We have had it before, and just because we had a couple mild winters, that does not mean we can escape a cold one. Weather cycles have long been part of what we experience all 12 months of the year.

When I was growing up, we didn’t know about wind chills. We didn’t have any of the modern “warming” garments that people currently have available. However, we did have hand-knitted wool mittens, hats, scarves and even socks. We also had wood stoves to dry our mittens out when they got soaked during the latest snowball fight or snowman-building exercise.

We had long johns and actually wore them. Plus, we were so bundled up we could barely move, except once we were outside. We managed to slide down the hill by the barn. We also played the favorite “Fox and Goose” game, but somehow my brother always won at that.

As kids, we knew that when we were cold and shivering, it was time to go inside and warm up by the cook stove. One of my favorite winter events was a snowstorm. That not only meant no school, but it also meant I could sit and watch the snow blow past the window. It also meant that my brother and I could go outside and try to walk through the deepest snowbanks we could find. Yes, I often got stuck, and he’d have to pull me out.

I can recall walking nearly a mile to the little country school after we had been plowed out. The banks were so high that they almost reached the electric line. To my little girl mind, it seemed as if I were walking through a tunnel. By the time we got to school, my brother and I were glad the teacher had arrived soon enough to get the coal furnace going, and the school was toasty warm.

I still like a good snowstorm, one that says: Stay home; enjoy the solitude; and wait for someone to plow you out.

Do I love winter and the cold? Not really. But as I have said before, I love and hate all seasons of the year. Each provides its own pleasures and dreaded days. Even summer, when it can get too hot, humid and buggy. I love autumn the best, and we sure had a long and pleasant one this past year.

The achy joints may hurt a little more this time of year. But still, I know that this too shall pass and will do my best to enjoy each day as it comes.