Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Christmas in October

This is an important news break from our regularly scheduled flashback. We will return to our program after this significant bulletin…

On the evening of Thursday, October 12 I was driving across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula- homeward bound. The wife had called me that morning all giddy and excited.

“It’s snowing!” she exclaimed, “It’s just like Christmas!”

After three years in Texas, we had missed out on three autumns and three winters, so the wife and I were just beginning to remember what they’re like. In Houston, winter means you stop suffering through 100 degree humidity and pull on a sweater for those crisp 75 degree days.

“But it’s not Christmas,” I said glancing at my calendar just to make sure I wasn’t the crazy one, “It’s October.” (For a brief moment, I was worried that perhaps I had thoughtlessly squandered two and a half months of opportunities to buy the wife a Christmas gift)

“I know it’s not Christmas! That’s not the point!” she said sharply, irritated with my matter-of-fact response. Her tone softened, “But it’s just so pretty…” (I breathed a sigh of relief that I still had 73 shopping days left to find a gift for the wife… meh, I’ll do it later)

With the exception of a chilly wind, the weather crossing the U.P. was uneventful- not even any signs of precipitation (wet or frozen). I was beginning to wonder if I would miss it all together. I headed south across the Mackinac Bridge and the wind picked up. The instant we got to Mackinaw City, the snow started coming down. The plows hadn’t hit the streets yet and the roads were in terrible condition. This bothered me. The second thing people say to you when they find out you’re moving to Northern Michigan after, “Oh man, you’re in for some harsh winters…”, is “… but they do a good job keeping the roads plowed”.

By the time I rolled into the Boyg around midnight, at least eight inches of snow had accumulated on the ground. The pale moonlight reflected off the snow-covered fields making it look like the surface of the moon. It all seemed so surreal and foreign. Truth be told, I may have even hummed a Christmas carol or two in my mind. When I got home, the wife gave me a forlorn look that said- “It’s going to be a long winter…” Maybe God was trying to warn us for what lies in the months ahead. We don’t own a snow shovel yet and seriously lack appropriate winter attire. We broke out the catalogs and began looking for the perfect down parka, hats, gloves, scarves and long underwear.

The next morning I awoke early to the sound of large trucks and amber-colored strobe lights. I went to the window and peered into the darkness. A plow was diligently clearing our rural road. The wife was right- we would certainly be tested this winter. Our survival would ultimately depend upon keeping morale up long after the holiday season was over. I am always up for an adventure. Besides, that which does not kill us… TBD.


At 8:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As they say in Upstate NY...summer is really just three months of bad skiing. I'll bet the same holds true for Northern MI. Good luck...we'll be interested in your perspective in Feb or March...or even April!

At 8:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That Upstate NY comment was mine...couldn't remember my login id....dad

At 8:22 PM, Blogger JohnCub said...

I think there's a lot left out of that "That which does not kill you" quote.

Maybe it doesn't make you physically stronger. I guess I always took it that way, thinking I was going to be Charles Atlas in the end or something. Not so. I'm still just an overweight american approaching middle age faster than I'd like to.

I grew up in the north, just south of the new york line. I spent some time in Erie, PA. I guess I know what its like, or at least I did. My memories of it are, I'm sure, mostly exaggerated. None of it killed me and the only stronger I got was the knowledge that I could make it through it. Not in the sense that I was able to stay indoors while it was cold or I could make it from the house to the car and live through the car ride. I realized life went on through adversity. It was painful at the time but the lessons taught were well worth the effort.

Keep on keepin' on and remember, you never graduate from the university of adversity; You only learn the lessons you are given and grow from there.

At 3:18 PM, Blogger Heather Neely said...

We're having a cold snap here in Juneau as well....a week of about 28-32F temps is what we're starting right now. Looking outside there is frost covering everything...and I am thinking to myself "if I walk out to get my mail I'm going to slip and fall on my butt." I think the mail will wait. :)
All is well here, 6 (give or take) weeks till baby.

Take care,

At 4:42 PM, Anonymous mom said...

Your blood hasn't thickened yet but it will and you will have many happy memories of the long winters just as your dad and I have of our winters in Syracuse...sled riding, snowmen, forts. Arrived with one little boy and left with three...I guess we found something to do!!God has something for you and "the wife" to learn or to grow there...pray you will discover it.
Love, Mom

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