Do we really care about climate change and global warming? I hear people all winter—if February high temperatures just below 60 degrees can be called winter—complaining about the cold. The cold?!?! They say things like, “I sure miss summer sun and beach weather” or “This cold weather can go for all I care.”
I understand now that people really don’t care one way or the other. They are just concerned about their creature comforts. I imagine the majority of people are secretly thinking, “Bring on global warming. Who likes winter temperatures anyway?
Thirty-five years ago, I remember spending most of my winters trudging through the snow to bust the ice on the pond so the cows could drink. I remember many trips carrying five-gallon buckets filled with water sloshing over the top and getting my snow pants wet just to water the horse because the hose had frozen solid.
And I remember that we had only one pair of good cold-weather snow boots that belonged to my father. When we had lived in Iceland, the Navy had issued them to him. He was fond of saying that he could fill them with ice water, only to have the water be tepid two hours later. The first child to snag them did the chores with a smile at the misery of the others. The remaining three stomped around just to keep the blood flowing to our lower extremities.
About this same date nine years ago, the winter clouds opened up and dumped almost two feet of snow on our home in Northwest Arkansas in a single 24-hour period. The office closed early that day. The windshield wipers were not working very well on my car, so I had to drive with my head sticking out the driver side window. My wife will tell you that she heard me laughing like a little child coming down the neighborhood street.
I taught my kids how to dress properly—in layers. I took them sledding on the steepest hill around. It sloped down to a deep and broad roadside ditch before climbing up onto the shoulder of a busy 4-lane street. I went first to show them how it was done. As I was trudging up the hill, my son came barreling down. Shouting “Bail…Bail,” I leapt out of the way. I turned and watched him, still yelling for him to drop off the sled. But he was having the time of his life. Down the steep hill he sped. Into the ditch and shooting up the other side. Good thing there was a line of cars parked on the shoulder because he slammed into the door of a nice pickup.
Later that afternoon, my children had started shucking off layers because they were getting too hot, and I had told them they didn’t want to sweat. Most of the other local kids were shivering uncontrollably and complaining about how cold they were. Seems their parents had only put a thicker coat on them with caps and gloves before shoving them out into the cold. Those are the people that are going to grow up to hate winter temperatures and fun in the snow. My grown kids miss the snow to this day.
So, my take on this whole winter thing is that people secretly yearn for global warming. They don’t want to have to shovel their driveways after each snow—when we would receive snow, you could find me outside shoveling mine and the neighbor’s drives—dress their kids in layers, or trudge up to the barn to milk a cow by hand in 20-degree weather, with the mud and dung being frozen in ridges but still stinking.
No, they want Piña coladas in their hands while they are sitting on their porches watching their kids ride bicycles up and down the street…wearing shorts and t-shirts at the beginning of February. I miss the cold. I miss the snow. I miss building a snowfort and playing like I refused to grow up.