THERE IS NO DOUBT that winter is here. I know this for a fact because I got the usual ‘sign’ which normally doesn’t arrive until mid-December.
The sign is a physical reaction to the cold. It happens when I go out for my pre-dawn walk. At some point I realize that my hands have gotten cold, and I have unconsciously pulled them back inside the sleeves. This is easy to do because for my sweatshirt to fit my circumference, the sleeves have to be long enough for some guy who is about 6’ 5” tall with very long gorilla arms.
About four blocks from home Tuesday morning I realized that I had pulled my hands back into the sleeves.
Dang, I said, I musta missed autumn altogether! Well, I’m sure we’ll still have some autumn days. After all, it is only mid-October and I haven’t even made my monthly truck payment, yet.
I know I’m late with the payment when the tellers at Red River Federal Credit Union begin looking at me real, real hard if I cut in line at McDonald’s or Starz.
And this gives me an opportunity to re-tell a story about early winter.
First of all, I do believe that human activity is is abetting the natural cycle of climate change. We need to stop burning fossil fuels, although I do not plan to personally get a battery-powered pickup truck.
Second of all, more than 50 years ago when I was stationed at Imperial Beach, Calif., in the Navy, I was in the enlisted men’s coffee shop one Saturday morning reading the newspaper.
There was an interview with a researcher from the Scripps Institute located up the coast a ways from San Diego. The Scripps perfesser made a comment that has stayed with me for all this time.
He said that ‘we’ were entering a 300-year cycle of the sun. There will be occasional unseasonably warm days in winter; there will be occasional unseasonably cold days in summer. The biggest impact, he said, was for farmers who have had traditional dates for when they reap and sow. Those dates will fluctuate, the perfesser predicted. Dang, he has been right!
He didn’t say anything about the ‘sign’ of me pulling my chilled hands inside the morning walk sweatshirt sleeve.
SOMETIME back in 2010 I whined about needing just a few short sticks of firewood for my patio firepit.
And magically within a few days, this nice guy came in and brought me some fine, fine sticks just the right size. He said he had read my previous column about my chainsaw and he felt sorry for me because I was having to use a woman’s chainsaw.
I need to explain that I had whined about my electric chainsaw, and my problems with the extension cords. It was hard to find enough firewood to cut, I wrote, because even if I put together all of my extension cords I wouldn’t have enough length to get out of the neighborhood. And I have learned the hard way that my neighbors don’t appreciate me cutting their tree limbs just to feed my patio’s appetite for firepit sticks.
I wrote about the chainsaw. One of the biggest mistakes of my life was buying the doggone thing, but it was the cheapest chainsaw I could find online.
I found it at BarbieAndKenCatalogue.com.
It was sissy pink and it used scented bar and chain oil. The scents were lilac, cinnamon, eucalyptus and a special wintergreen scent that was perfect for cutting Christmas trees.
My friend at the ‘Texarkana Gazette’ saw the column and got interested. He was curious about the sissy chainsaw.
I told him that it was the new Ultra Sissy Model 5 which featured a soft squeeze grip and a big giftwrap package of camo-pattern color-coordinated extra-long outdoor electric extension cords. The catalogue refused to refer to them as ‘heavy duty.’ I can’t imagine why.
The Ultra Sissy Model 5 came equipped with a heated mirror mounted on the brake handle. This is very useful, the Barbie and Ken online catalogue pointed out, when the Lady of the House wants to check her mascara without interrupting the slicing of a neighbor’s oak limb on a coolish day.
It was only $159.95, but WAIT. If I would order it within 10 minutes I could get a free carrying case. The case matches the saw’s colors and it is also a functioning boombox stereo. However, it only plays girlband music. Frilly stuff.
I bought it anyway because Barbie and Ken were the only ones that would accept my credit card.
My friend from the other newspaper was incredulous. He said he had gotten his chainsaw out of the Mixed Martial Arts catalogue. “It is very, very manly,” he sneered. “It has loud twin exhausts and chrome pipes.” The carrying case is also a boombox but it plays only Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams, Jr., stuff. There is a rebel flag decal on the flat of the bar.
He declined my offer to trade.
THINGS I LEARNED from opening (and believing) email: Leonardo Da Vinci invented the scissors.
WORD GAMES. The Twins: Spic and Span. I don’t know much about them except they’re always spotless.
HE SAID: “Leaders should lead as far as they can and then vanish. Their ashes should not choke the fire they have lit.” H.G. Wells, writer
SHE SAID: “We can each define ambition and progress for ourselves. The goal is to work toward a world where expectations are not set by the stereotypes that hold us back, but by our personal passion, talents and interests.” Sheryl Sandberg, technology executive
SWEET DREAMS, Baby