You can talk about your springtime in the Rockies, about autumn in New
York, or summer in the Vale of Kashmir, but winter is the
season for me. Give me winter and plenty of it.
- I like the 80 pounds of clothes you have to put on to walk to
the post office.
- I like being able to wear a woolen scarf and cap to the dinner
table without feeling uncouth.
- I like the chance to sleep in my overcoat.
- I like the friendly sound of the heating-oil truck arriving
every few hours to keep the furnace roaring away.
- I like walking knee-deep in snow to get to the garden shed
where the snow shovel is kept.
- I like the way the snow gets down into the shoes during this
adventure, and turns to water, and makes your socks soaking wet.
- Show me somebody who doesn't like that, and I'll show you
somebody who has lost touch with the joys of childhood.
- And O, the icy feet! The icy feet! Take them to bed with you
and they retain the frost all night long, keeping the sheets chilled
from toe to pelvis. I like the icy feet.
- I especially like a great ice storm!
- I like the way it weighs down power lines until they crackle
- I like the excitement of not knowing whether the power failure
will last long enough for every pipe in the house to freeze.
- I like wondering: If the pipes unfreeze, will burst seams
flood the house and create an exciting new lake in the cellar?
- During power outages, I like trying to generate a little heat
by making a fire in the fireplace.
- Some men lose heart on discovering that since the woodbox is
empty, they must make another trip out to the woodpile by the garden
shed in knee-deep snow.
- Not me. I like the chance it gives me to wax philosophical by
saying, "If God had wanted us to be sissies He wouldn't have made
- I like the way the law requires you to get out and shovel your
sidewalk when the snow is over.
- I like the way doctors always broadcast warnings that you
could easily die if you shovel snow.
- I like the feeling, when shoveling the snow, that it may kill
- I like the excuse this offers to feel sorry for myself while
imagining the funeral elegy: "He died to uphold the law."
- I like digging the car out from under tons of snow with the
sure knowledge that snowplows will come by before long and bury it
under the same tons of snow I have just taken off.
- You know what else I like? Driving when the streets are icy
and the car starts to skid.
- I like knowing that a skidding car should be turned into the
direction of the skid, unless it has front-wheel drive, in which case
it should be steered in the direction you want it to go.
- I like not being quite sure whether I have these rules
correct, because when I'm out there on the ice it makes me feel like
a John Wayne figure living dangerously.
I have friends who love winter even more than I do, and they
make me feel inferior about my own passion for the season.
- They boast of their love for skiing down great mountains even
though it may break their bones.
- They taunt me with cries of, "What? You are afraid of a few
No, not afraid. I like a chance to shatter my bones as much as
the next man.
What I like about winter, though, is that bone-shattering can
be done without incurring the high costs of skiing. (The only costlier
sport is polo.)
One has only to step out of the house and walk to the post
office to mail a letter, thus inviting a fall on a nice icy patch that
may shatter such vital bones as the pelvis, the spine and the skull,
all for the price of a 32-cent stamp.
I like winter's indifference to the rich and famous. Sure, you
can spend a fortune and ski the Alps, Himalayas, Rockies and
Appalachians in the quest for orthopedic trauma, but winter also
offers equal opportunity to the common man with nothing but a pair of
porch steps to fall from.
Enough praise. The heating-oil truck is here again, and I feel
the flu coming on.