Friday, January 4, 2013

This Kind of Cold

I grew up in Idaho, and I turn into a fuddy-duddy when I think about the winters of my youth. At the turn of the century, people in Boise drove sleighs all winter.  There was enough snow and enough cold to merit "one-horse open sleighs "  When I was a teenager, it was in the 20s from October through March, although the snow had abated some.  My dad said it could snow on Easter.  He was right.

When I was a child, the ponds would freeze solid enough. We were rounded up with t-shirts, regular shirts, sweaters, sweat shirts, and gloves and  coats and were headed out in the evening for skating.  The adults provided a bon fire and hot chocolate.  I had on all of the above, plus socks, boots, and rubber boots to keep my feet dry.  I stood so close to the bon fire that I melted the toes of my boots.  You hardly believe your eyes when that happens.

Then there was Bobby, a neighbor kid who was almost, but not quite a boy friend.  I loved him and would have followed him anywheres.  As he called it.  He was a kid who would take apart and put back together old jalopies.  And he liked girls.  All of 'em.  He asked me along in his new ride to a town about 15 miles away. I wanted to go.  Real bad.

When I climbed in, I realized that the heater didn't work and ... there were no floor boards.  You could see the road under your seat and you planted your feet on either side of your seat—and hung on for dear life.  It was a 20-degree day and an hour's ride with the wind whistling in around you.  

What an adventure that was.  

Then there the cold in the early 1990s.  Funny to think of those years as "olden" years.  We had a 2-3 week patch of minus 25 degree weather.  The world quiets down in those kind of days.  People don't drive much, they huddle in around hot chocolate, tons of coffee, and  chili and clam chowder.  You just don't go "anywheres."  The snow and cold blankets the sound.  Everybody gets a little nuts.  Cabin fever.

After a month of that, the weather broke and my cousin Julie and I opted for a movie out.  We wore sweaters instead of coats, took long walks, and generally felt like spring had come at last.  Julie was on the phone with our Aunt Nira, explaining about the weather and our bouts of cabin fever.

"Oh, what's the temp now?"  Aunt Nira asked.

"7 degrees."  


  1. Good post, warm and interesting memories....

  2. Barbara,

    I wanted you to know that I just finished "The Blackberry Tea Club" and I absolutely loved it. I wish I could give it more than 5 stars. Perhaps one day you'll read my book, "Heart Full of Hope," which was my labor of love. Now, I'm going to start yours over again. Thank you for this gem.

    Christine Geery