Our Winter of Discontent

snowy tree 0519So now it is snowing. It has been snowing all around us for at least two days, and now the white stuff has come down enough in elevation to reach the valley floor. I believe my weather called for a “squall” around 9; it’s an hour premature. However, my weather goes on to promise clear skies by 4. I want to believe!

Dressing in April has been a challenge, and while I am what I like to think of as a pragmatist whose winter coat does not go into the closet until well into May, possibly June, and always remains close at hand year-round, I feel surrounded by unknown optimists.

Not at work, particularly, where Kara is still firmly held in the embrace of her wall heater and Ben is still running his sweatshirt through the dryer, but as I go about my errands around town there are signs — portents, if you will, that Spring is upon us, as long as you don’t believe the weather.

Yesterday, while I was sort of ruing my decision to go without a second layer under my winter coat, I went past a woman whose white short-sleeve top had designer holes exposing her shoulders to the elements. After breakfast on Sunday, the queue outside the W Cafe included a man in a tank top, shorts and flip flops. I was wearing my winter coat, with a fleece packed along for good measure in my SpongeBob backpack (a $5 find at Toys R Us, long before they publicly went bankrupt).

At work I used to hire — before she left town and abandoned me — a bookkeeper named Cheryl, who would come two or three times a year to answer my questions and straighten out my errors. She was a calendar girl, and we’re not talking pin-up. If it said on the calendar it was Spring, she was dressed for Spring. Her coat went into the closet on one equinox and didn’t come out until the next. Who cares what the weather is doing? The calendar says it’s Spring, by gosh.

While Cheryl could always manage to straighten out my errors, I was never able to make her see the error of her ways, even if it was snowing and she was shivering in her summer garb. (I would like to add that her disposition was always as sunny as her outlook on the weather, and I am still, years later, sad that she is no longer here to help me out.)

The hardest part for me, in whatever month Spring chooses to arrive (this year: maybe never), is remembering to move vital supplies from summer wear to winter on a daily basis.

I don’t have a lot of vital supplies, but there are a few, and during the winter, it’s no problem: they all go into my coat. Even if I am not wearing my coat, it is not far from where I am, so it’s an easy reach for my pen, my lip balm, my phone (which I think is sad that it is now on my “vital supply” list — I managed to go more than half a century without a phone following me around) and my dog snacks.

Yes, I am listing “dog snacks” as a vital supply, and you would too, if you were one of my four-legged subscribers. I carry a pocketful of Milk Bone Flavor Snacks, and it has earned me a lot of friendship and loyalty over the years.

Out on the Van Tuyl trails, Oz and I frequently cross paths with an older gentleman, whose name I don’t know, and his dog Shadow (her name I know). Shadow can spot me from a quarter-mile away. Her walking buddy will drop her leash, and she comes on a run. When her friend catches up, he always says the same thing: “She sure knows you!”

Apollo barks once from his side of a privacy fence to remind me he’s there, while Charlie next door is much more vociferous. I know Bo — two of them in fact, and both of them female. But the other day I horribly disappointed Maggie, our nearest Some Day neighbor, when she arrived outside our house and I had not made the Vital Supply Transfer to whatever layer the weather had dictated that day.

This is worse than when you tell a kid there’s no Santa Claus (I was going to assure you this is something I have never done, but I believe I did say it once, very long ago, to my little sister Terri, shortly after someone said it to me). That look of reproach can be searing.

But here’s the great things about dogs: they are almost always willing to give you a second chance. So I’m feeling fairly good that when next we run into Maggie, she will still come close enough to stick her nose near my hand. You know, just in case.

It is still squalling outside, and so am I, inside. (Day Three — how long can I keep this lament about the weather going? I’m sure you’d all like to find out.) The satellite was out this morning, forcing me to find my news on the CBS website. While roaming around doing morning chores I had some thought I was going to wow you all with, and I wondered to myself if I should make a note and decided — why do you think I would think this? — that I would remember, at which point I promptly forgot.

So some of my pearls of wisdom are now lost to the ages (along with my Yahoo account — I can squall with the best of them on a wide variety of topics), which is only adding to my discontent. I should, on this May Day, be celebrating the proletariat (“nothing to lose but your chains”), but alas, there is still no Spring in my step. Maybe tomorrow.

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