The other day I was complaining about being cold and Colton, my youngest son, said he was beginning to wonder if I was really from Colorado. Yes, I was born and raised in Colorado – a state known for it’s cold, snowy winters. Additionally, I went to Adams State College (now University) in Alamosa, where it is not uncommon to see (and feel) temperatures drop to double-digits below zero. From there I went to Minnesota, where the temperatures do the same thing, but with humidity.
There is a reason I now live in Southeast Texas. I hate being cold (which is ironic because I married a native Houstonian who loves the cold). Trust me, humid cold is much, much worse than the dry cold we had in Colorado. So yeah, when the temperature last week dropped below freezing, I was miserable. I’d much rather be sweating it out in the 90s than chilling out in the 20s.
Still, it was my integrity as a manly, native Coloradan that my own son, himself a Colorado native, was questioning. The strange things is, I didn’t care. Sure, we got a good chuckle out of it, but the truth is, I’m proud to be from Colorado and very happy to live in Texas. I’ve always been a cold weather wimp, so I take no insult in that.
Here in our office in Stafford, the air conditioner blasts away all summer long. I have closed off the vent to my office and keep a space heater handy because my office is more like a walk-in cooler than a sauna. Even now as I write this I’m wearing my Texans hoodie and am blasting the space heater with hopes of thawing the 10 ice cubes at the end of my feet.
The only benefits to the cold that I can think of is that it makes for good sleeping weather and it keeps the bugs at bay. Other than that, I have no use for the cold. Still, as one who grew up in cold climates, I find it entertaining to see Southerners panic whenever the temperatures dip, especially whenever the S-word creeps into the forecast.
Honestly, I think TV weather people enjoy saying snow as often as they can. It’s a ratings bonanza for them. I think they may be in cahoots with the grocery stores over this. Whenever they say snow, shelves go empty at local supermarkets. That’s just good business for both entities.
They do the same thing with hurricane forecasts. There may be no chance of a hurricane hitting us, but the meteorologists will tell us repeatedly that they are tracking the storm and that we should stay glued to our TVs just in case there is a change in direction. They then segue into hurricane prevention tips and advise you to run to the grocery store and strip the shelves bare of food and supplies because you might not be able to get out of the house for a day or two. This is vitally important because they want more advertising from the grocery chains. The more anxious they can make people about the weather, the more groceries get sold and the happier they are.
Whether it’s a hurricane or a chance of snow, the same scenario plays out. The panic-stricken public leaves work early, rushes to the store and circles the parking lot for 30 minutes waiting for a parking space. They then go into the store and create a black Friday scene in the bottled water aisle. Once their cart is full of canned food, jars of peanut butter, loaves of bread, a box of Twinkies, and more cases of bottled water than a person could drink in a year, they go stand in line and the checkout registers where they wait until the storm has blown over just to make their purchase. Well, at least it seems that long.
Meanwhile, back in Colorado and other cold weather states, folks are staring out the back window through a blinding snowstorm at the grill with five inches of snow on it wondering if they should dust it off and grill steaks or stay inside and scramble some hamburger to make tacos. Yeah, the struggle is real!
A few years ago I used to work for a local sporting goods store. Whenever the temperatures dipped, we would have a run on space heaters and generators. We also did a brisk business on hoodies, thermal underwear and hunting jackets.
I will say this much for Southerners, they do know how to prepare for the weather. It’s almost second nature to stock up and hunker down whenever foul weather is forecast. They don’t need to write down a checklist; they have it memorized. The lists of foodstuffs are handed down from mothers to daughters for generations. The supply list is likewise passed father to son as it has been since the days of cavemen, or at least since the invention of TV news.
I can see this scene being played out in living rooms across the South last week:
Wife: Look hon, the weatherman said it might snow.
Husband: I’m on it.
Wife: I’ll leave work at noon tomorrow and hit the Kroger and the HEB.
Husband: I’ve got Academy covered.
Wife: What about the kids?
Husband: What about them?
Wife: Should we wait for the bus to bring them home or go park in line to pick them up at school with everybody else?
Husband: That depends. Are they feeding them steak or tacos for lunch?
And so it goes.
I guess the bottom line to all this talk about the weather is that my son, and the rest of the family, has noticed that I’ve completely acclimated to Texas. It only took 12 years, but here I am, all bundled up and ready to start circling parking lots at the first sign of a snowflake.