There’s no bad weather

I grew up devouring the stories of the Little House on the Prairie, Daniel Boone, and The Call of The Wild. I knew about the fickle nature of Colorado weather, “Give it a minute and it will change.” I thrilled to stories of mountain men and the Old West dangers of weather and snow. We skied, tobogganed, rode horses, made snow forts. We knew about wool coats, big boots, and really ugly hats.
But our tiny acreage was nibbled away by the Big City and the safety of modern cars took away some of our fears. Our schools made foolish choices for us and overrode our common sense.
My younger sister, Kay, seems to have borne the brunt of winter’s collision with technology and she mentions it today when the Colorado wind chill is -35 and her daily commute is two hours.
Our memories differ, but the story is the same. Our high school, an hour’s drive on Federal Boulevard, insisted on the wearing of formal dress. For guys this meant a suit and tie, for girls it meant skirts and dress shoes.
Colorado weather is an oddball. A balmy fall day with sky as blue as the ocean can turn into a blizzard within the hour. So happened twice with Kay and Sarah rumbling along Federal Boulevard once in an poorly heated car pool van, again in a well used 1970 Rambler. A fender bender resulted in a long cold wait as the police wandered between county jurisdictions, and the snow began to pile up. Kay in her open toed sandals, a frightened, confused teen waited in the snow and ice for the mishaps to be cleared.
Cell phones were 20 years into the future, so they proceeded on to school. It wasn’t until late in the evening when Kay and Sarah examined their sore, red, swollen feet. Who would think at a downtown intersection of Interstate 70 one could get frostbite?
Years later, Kay had a car breakdown on the Valley Highway,far from her home. Once again in office dress, she waited for rescue. She on the east side of the traffic crawling along the ice, Dad on the west side. Unable to find each other in the mass of technology halted by nature’s choice.
Dad thought her location was on the west side of the Platte River where he searched for hours before he tried the east side of the river. During that time, Kay stood outside and her feet were frost bitten again!
They tried to jump start her truck until the van battery was depleted, Dad kept his van engine running to recharge the battery.
She suffers from nature’s weather choices, still, but she’s the wiser now as she emails me. A choice that would have been handy those 15 or 20 years ago. She clearly vows, “When it’s below, I don’t go.”
That and an old Swedish adage, “There’s no bad weather, only bad clothing.” Now no matter the Colorado forecast, wool socks, mittens, and hats are tucked into an old pair of boots in the backs of our cars next to old quilts.
That’s what Grandpa Cecil White often recommended, and a look upon a photograph of his dark, weathered face, that wisdom was better than an adage or two.

4 comments

  1. I am like your sister – when it is snowing, I stay home, get a fire going in the wood stove and enjoy the coziness of my house. Enjoyed the story. DK

  2. I hear you on so many levels here! Why can’t women dress to be warm (reference holiday dresses)? I always have full gear in the car. I don’t want to risk frostbite because I thought my feet and legs would look better in high heels. Let’s get real! ***mcb***

  3. I enjoyed this very much. Too many bone-aching chills have led me to also pack an oversized blanket, gloves and other accessories to better contend with Mother Nature’s surprises, which can be deadly.

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