I had just started changing the oil on my car Saturday and glanced toward my garden at the bottom of the hill.
Water was gushing out of a faucet down there that is used to water tomatoes and peas in a warmer season.
It seems the cold weather last week broke the brass fitting on that waterline. The area was soaked and I have no idea how long that water was running.
It was off to Nabors’ for a new spigott, insulation and duct tape. Marshal said they have sold a lot of those brass fittings and have done a brisk business in PVC pipe.
It seems like there are others around here who have been surprised by the cold.
Old Man Winter
I love watching the seasons. Yes, spring and fall are my favorite, but there is something special about winter, too.
My high school buddy Jay Pinkerton once told me winter was his favorite season. Jay lived on a farm and was his father’s only son. I have to believe much of the manual labor needed to plant, tend and harvest soybeans was handed to Jay.
We hunted in the winter.
My grandmother was from Kentucky and there were many Christmas holidays when I played in the snow.
I was fortunate to go to California one summer and do high Sierra camping with my cousins. That translated into a trip to Alaska with those kinfolk the following summer. I actually spent the night on a giant snowfield at 16,000-feet on the slopes of Mt. McKinley.
I was young then and cold was just another challenge to be faced by a young man with more zeal for adventure than common sense.
I’ve always felt the best hunting can be found in these parts on a cold winter mornings. The boys and I wrapped up several times this season to spend time slowly freezing to death. Or as some people in these parts call it – deer hunting.
I had a Scoutmaster who carried us camping once a month, year round. “Stay clean and dry, don’t do things that makes you sweat and if you feet are cold – put on a hat,” were all learned from Mr. Felix.
It’s not the cold that kills people, it’s ignorance and a lack of preparation.
Coldest I’ve ever been
I remember spending two nights in San Francisco one summer that were cold. We even took a dip on a dare in a bone-chilling Pacific Ocean in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge. That was very cold.
I once broke through ice on a frozen creek in Pennsylvania when I worked oil exploration one April. The water was only waist deep, but some very temperature-sensative parts got very cold before I got out and could change clothes.
But the coldest I’ve ever been was a Mississippi State baseball game one Sunday afternoon in February. I was a college boy with a college girl on my arm. I looked so dashing in that tight T-shirt when I picked her up. But the sun soon started to set and the wind started to blow straight out of the Left Field Lounge. Then they ran out of coffee and hot chocolate in the concession stand.
The Bulldogs were winning and she wanted to stay. All I could do was smile and shiver. I never went out with the Ice Princess again!
Son of the South
This is the coldest winter I can remember.
I do remember a November in the 1970s when it got down to 5-degrees. And there was an 18-degree campout when I was a Scoutmaster in West Point. But I don’t remember as many days with the temperature in the teens has we have had this year.
Yes, as a Son of the Sunny South, I know “this too, will pass.”
In the next week or two we’ll get one of those 70-degree winter days that makes living in the Magnolia State all worth it. The jonquils will soon poke out there yellow heads. The glorious days of April and May will spring upon us and be followed closely by those hot summer months of June and July.
And being the ungrateful humans that we are, we will be longing once again for the cold of winter.
So offer me a cup of coffee. Throw open the door and invite us in out of the weather. Maybe you need to cook up something warm and carry it to someone you know.
Yes, it’s c-c-c-cold. But as Southerners, let’s help each other grin and bear it as we trudge through the Winter of ’14.
Floyd Ingram is Managing Editor/News for the Chickasaw Journal. He can be reached at 456-3771 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org