Good riddance to winter and cold weather

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

I officially declare winter over on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Confession: I hate winter. Once I experienced my first mild winter here in the late 1970s, I was sold – never again will I live anywhere near a cold climate.

I had enough of it growing up in places with full-blown winters. After graduating from college, the cold was in my rearview mirror. Hello, Texas.

Some friends say they like four seasons. I like two of them: Summer and almost summer.

Go outside and take a whiff of that spring air – the smell of wildflowers, fresh-cut grass. Listen to the birds singing. It is exhilarating.

You can’t help being in a good mood. It is relaxing to just sit in the backyard and take it all in. I wish there was some way to bottle it so I can just pop it open during one of the few winter days around here.

When I was younger, I got ready to go to elementary school one day without listening to the radio news or turning on the TV. I found myself in knee-deep snow as I tried to make my way three blocks to school.

Fortunately, one of the kind passersby informed me that school was closed. Snow day – that is one of the benefits of winter in the northeast. I went back home and watched TV all day.

That’s about all I could do back in those days. There was no Internet, no video games. There wasn’t even a phone in my household. But we did have a small black and white TV and a radio.

We could watch maybe a half dozen TV channels. Three of them showed sitcom reruns in the mornings. Then the Mike Douglas show came on in the afternoon.

Another time we went on a class trip to go skiing. It was not the best class trip I have been on. (The best one was in May when we went to a lake where we paddled boats and played ping pong.)

On the winter trip,I figured out how NOT to wipe out on skiis, but spent much of the afternoon in the warm clubhouse. On the way back home, our bus ran into a huge snowstorm, and we sat on the highway for hours, along with the rest of the cars.

There was no way to let family members know what had happened. Our parents stood around in front of the school, waiting, hoping that the radio would not break in with a special report about a bus full of kids.

When the bus finally pulled up to the school, we received the warmest greeting ever from the parents.
We heard their cheers as we turned the corner where the school was. Their nerves were shot by then.
As it turned out, we were one of the last vehicles to get out of all that mess before the highway was shut down.

I have several other snow horror stories, but nothing like the latest one I heard. A guy survived in his car in the snow for three days by eating only packets of hot taco sauce. I would have died. I don’t carry taco sauce in my car.

I don’t know how people in places like Chicago do it – live with the snow and ice and cold for months on-end. They must be used to it. One of my sons was up there recently for three days and found it miserably cold.

In the summer, when it’s 95 here in the shade, people in places where it’s cold now will probably be sitting on their back porch enjoying a cool breeze. We won’t be doing that in the middle of summer. The breeze will be warm and damp, and the back porch will be attacked by mosquitos.

We’ll be inside in air conditioning. But, that’s O.K.