Traditionally COLD

… and I’m Shivering
By Jeff Salter

What I hate about the title song to the movie, Frozen, is that the heroine WANTS to “let it snow”. We’re blogging this week about traditions dealing with cold weather — whether that be the start of winter or the first snowfall. Well, since winter began (officially) a full month ago… and since we’ve already had a few instances of snowfall in Possum Trot, I guess my pontificating may seem a bit late. [That said, as I’m drafting this (on Jan. 20), we are in the middle of the first HEAVY snowfall of our season in southeast KY. So, forgive me if I ramble a bit.]



First, let me clarify what “traditions” are to me/us. There are so many variables these days – where I am, who’s here, what I’m (or we’re) doing, what others are doing, whether I’m on a deadline, how I feel, etc. – that it’s very difficult (for me) to say I/we have any traditions at all.

For example, the cold weather in Louisiana – where I spent most of four decades (or so) – was terribly unpredictable. It might be COLD for weeks and weeks with no appreciable precip… but I’d still be scraping frost from my windshield every single morning at 6:30 a.m. Hey, there’s a tradition: scraping my windshield!

I guess what I’m trying to say about traditions is: if I’ve done it more than twice, than I guess it’s a tradition. But I can’t think of many examples. Ha.

Cold vs. COLD

Depending on where you are, winter weather can be cold or *COLD*. In Louisiana, with humidity hovering around 99.9% year-round, when the temperature dropped at all, you were “freezing.” Up here in KY, where the humidity is considerably more tolerable, that same temperature might be jacket weather. As one example, yesterday (Jan. 19) when I was out running errands, it was 25 degrees but that didn’t feel any colder than 40 degrees would have felt in LA. [Of course, there was no breeze yesterday, either!] Humidity can make a lot of difference.

Cold Natured

As a kid, teen, and young adult — I don’t recall being that averse to cold temperatures. I often wore short sleeved shirts in moderate weather. But after my year in the Arctic – yes, true story, I was stationed in northwest Greenland – for some reason, the cold seems to hit me harder. [That, and the fact that even in summer, the air-conditioning in stores, theaters, schools, churches, wherever… feels like Arctic blasts — so I carry a jacket with me all summer long.]

This is an aside, but when I worked as a graduate assistant in the Middleton Library at LSU, during the summer semester, they were fine-tuning the “campus-wide” computerized HVAC system. Brrr. They had the A/C so cold that I – quite literally – wore a zipped up “ski jacket” for my entire four hour shift at the reference desk. [This also illustrates that I truly am “cold-natured.”]

Hey, there’s another tradition — I always carry a jacket, no matter how warm it appears to be!

Anyhow, my point here is that my blood is thin, or my circulation flawed… or something. My hands and feet start freezing on Nov. 1st each year and don’t usually thaw until Mar. 31st. When I shake hands with friends in Sunday School class, they probably think my gloves are merely eccentric. Nope: it’s to keep my fingers from shattering and falling to the floor.

Snow Memories

Of course, I’ve had plenty of experience with snow in the Arctic for a year, in Iowa for a year, and (now) in Kentucky for these past 9.5 years. [Oh, I also lived in Chicago for about two years as a toddler, but don’t remember all that much.] But among my favorite memories of snow are these two experiences:

  1. When I was in 4th or 5th grade in Covington LA, it snowed! Not much more than an inch or so, as I recall, but we had enough for snowball fights. Couldn’t really build a snowman, but we did manage to collect a few little piles. Tried to find a way to do some sledding, but that area was so flat only a few of the streets had any tilt to them. [Warning: do not sled in the street!]
  2. For my 10th grade year, we lived in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. Plenty of snow. We also had hills to sled on. Built snow “forts” and had bona fide snowball fights from the two forts. Loads of fun but we stayed out so long – didn’t realize we should’ve taken a few breaks to warm up – that my clothes and shoes and gloves were soaked. By the time we finally came inside, my fingers ached and felt so numb that it seemed they were the size and maneuverability of bananas. [Hey, maybe that’s why my hands are so cold in winters now!]


As I age, I find I’m less tolerant of either temperature extremes, but I can survive a lot better being too warm than I can being too cold.


Have you got any cold weather traditions? Memories? Preferences?

[JLS # 263]

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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19 Responses to Traditionally COLD

  1. Stop complaining about the cold. You choose to live in it while I moved to Texas where, yes we have cold, but not like you do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jeff7salter says:

      LOL. I had to complain — it was the weekly topic!
      Yeah, Texas weather is warmer but it also has its issues. Other than my 8 weeks at Lackland AFB, I’ve driven or ridden through Texas more times than I can count.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. jbrayweber says:

    Yes, I hate the cold. Any kind of cold. The temps drop below, oh, say 70 degrees, I’m cold. My hands ache, my feet hurt, and no matter how much I bundle up, the cold has seeped into my bones. Hate it. I know I’m a wuss, I live in Southeast Texas, after all, with not much to complain about. But it still gets cold. Brrrr….

    Traditions? Complaining about the cold. Also, every time we have our first hint of winter, I’m researching the cost of living in either Florida or the Caribbean.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Scraping the windshield that is a tradition I could do without. I’ve avoided it this winter, Jess is going to be taking driver’s ed soon. I told her if she wants to learn to drive she can start by scraping my windows. 🙂
    What was winter like in the Artic? I love winter but I don’t think I’d want to spend winter that far north.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jeff7salter says:

      It’s hard to separate the Arctic winter season from the approx. 100 days of total darkness known (then) as the Arctic Night. I think they call it something else now. Sun below the horizon for 24 hours a day. Temperature-wise, the coldest record was 40 below zero with a wind chill of 80 below zero — though it did not get exactly that cold while I was there.
      Suffice it to say that you dressed WARMly, stayed indoors whenever possible, and took a base taxi even to go a couple of blocks.


  4. sharon ruffy says:

    My cold weather preference is no cold weather.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have to disagree that the humidity here in KY is ‘tolerable’, at least , in the Summer! Although I lived in the East for the first 27 years of my life,I was in the West for the following 12. I asked my husband how we were going to prepare our sons,(who were Denverites), for humidity, but we couldn’t.
    I hope you stay safe, along with so many others.It’s supposed to hit us hard.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jeff7salter says:

      we didn’t get out yesterday, but they graded off the snow from Cemetery Road late yesterday so we did get out today. Doesn’t look good for Fri. & Sat., however.


  6. Patricia Kiyono says:

    You and my mother could commiserate with each other. She’s always cold, too. When I go to her house I dress in short sleeves, because she has the heat turned up – and while I’m fanning myself, she’s wearing long underwear under her jeans and a thermal shirt under her sweatshirt.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Iris B says:

    It’s weird, now that i don’t have to endure the cold every year, I miss it 🙂 It gets cold here, too, esp with antarctic breeze, but nothing like in North America or Europe. We get excited by three or four snowflakes 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: What I LIKE About Winter | Four Foxes, One Hound

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