Dorothy Harris

A chilling winter tale

Dorothy L. Harris

Ah, it's winter in Florida. Bright, sunny days followed by clear, cool nights. We've got it so good I'm surprised someone hasn't figured out how to tax us for it. Anyway, go grab a cold one and come huddle around the campfire. I want to tell you a story about the great white north.

I must admit, I had almost forgotten all about it, but then a friend recently moved to north Maine, as if Maine wasn't north enough already, and I'm hearing all about her first experiences with winter weather. Mind you, she was a Florida native who had never seen snow before.

I tried to warn her to get out before winter set in, but being all in love with her new hubby; she was blinded to the harsh realities of the frozen tundra. Now she is stuck. Stuck as in she couldn't leave, even with chains on her tires, due to the abundant snowfall. Thus she's learning about survival under extreme conditions and I'm remembering why I moved here in the first place.

She spent her weeks of blustery fall weather chopping firewood and gathering kindling. Surprisingly, she found this left her sorer than if she had been working out at the gym, which by the way they don't have up there. Come to think of it, there are a lot of things they don't have up there. Abundant sunshine or electricity, at least at this moment, comes to mind.

She did take my advice to put plastic shrink wrap on the inside of her windows to help cut down on drafts. She noticed right away her hair doesn't get all messed up when she walks by the windows anymore. She also put a cast iron pot of spices to steam on top of the pellet stove, desperate to keep some humidity in the air.

Yes, you read that right my sun-worshipping friends. There are places where one must actively work to put some moisture back into the air, since we Floridians inadvertently seem to hog all the humidity here in our peninsula. (I can almost hear the teenagers with flat-ironed hair taking a wistful breath over this bit of information- "No humidity, are you serious?")

My friend is also trying to figure out a way to keep her ducks from freezing. Yes, you read correctly, she has livestock. My husband calls them frozen food, and hers probably would too, but alas, she is a vegetarian. For now, the ducks are pets as are the roosters, chickens and others. Keeping their water bowls from icing over has been a real chore because their pipes keep freezing. I can't imagine what's happening right now with a possible lack of power on top of the bone-chilling temperatures and heavy snows. Do I hear all the vacationing Yankees laughing as they splash in their community swimming pools? Yes, you indeed know all about this and that's why you are here too.

Unfortunately for my dear friend, she is not, and old man winter is about to kick her butt. I suggested spiked golf shoes for heading out to care for the critters. Not so she could get a birdie, but so she doesn't fall on her booty while walking across the ice.

I almost feel guilty as I run in the afternoon sunshine or adjust the air conditioning a bit lower due to our unseasonably warm temperatures. Just the thought of being in the north, however, is more than enough chill for my bones.