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Kelly's Comment

Growing up chilly: I recall it, but don't miss it

Growing up chilly: I recall it, but don't miss it

March 12, 2009|By KELLY MORENO

Spring will officially be here next week, which means only about one more month of cold weather, right? I do see a few subtle signs of spring. Every day I notice more green buds and sprouts appearing in my yard, and this past weekend gave us a very welcome sneak preview of warm weather. However, that doesn't mean we're out of the wintery woods. Mother Nature could still blast us with some more of that cold air we've had so much of this winter. I still don't like cold weather, although I admit it's much easier to tolerate than it used to be. The old, drafty farmhouse I grew up in had oil heat, and there were many times when there wasn't enough money for oil, or the ancient furnace would otherwise malfunction. Bedtime meant a flannel nightgown with flannel pajamas underneath, a heavy robe, two pairs of socks, and all the blankets and cats I could round up.

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By comparison, life is much easier now. It's just incredible that although I keep the thermostat around 63 degrees, my last home heating bill was almost as much as I paid for my first car!

Speaking of first cars, I didn't have heat there, either. An otherwise reliable (and yes, awesome) 1967 Ford Mustang, my first car was a veritable freezer in the wintertime. It meant bundling up in a long, hooded wool coat, hat, scarf, and gloves, shivering all the way to work. Sometimes the driver's door would freeze up, and once I finally got it open, it wouldn't latch closed again. So I'd be driving with my right hand on the icy steering wheel, while my left hand struggled to keep the door from flying open. This was especially fun going around corners, and all the more challenging since my hands were frozen numb. Also, if there was a scintilla of snow on the road, the car would slide into a ditch. One particularly frigid night, the windshield kept frosting up, and I couldn't see a thing. Thankfully, my younger brother was with me, and I would pull over every couple of minutes so he could clear the windshield. Good times ... Thank goodness for newer cars; front-wheel drive, heat, and defrosters - even in the back window! What will they think of next? And for the record, though I'm sure it sounds like I was a danger on the road, my nerves were the only thing harmed by my wintertime driving.

What made all of that endurable? I have no idea. I guess it was just that I was raised to take life as it came, and deal with it. When you don't have much money, your choices are limited. You manage with what you have. Even now, I try to remember that there are folks who go without heat, folks with no home, no car, no food. I try to count my blessings, and realize that I've come a long way.

So now hopefully you can see why I'm not crazy about cold weather and what can go along with it. I'm thankful to have made it through yet another winter, and let's hope we are all able to keep warm during the next one. Happy spring!

Kelly Moreno is an editorial assistant with The Herald-Mail. Her column appears every other Thursday.

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