*With apologies to Jimmy Buffett
It might get cold down here on the Texas Gulf Coast. That is, next week might be kind of chilly.
But I fully expect it. It’s January and we haven’t had a really hard blast of cold weather. It is rather rule of thumb but usually when we get hit with really cold air, to us at least, it comes sometimes around 1) Thanksgiving 2) The week before Christmas or 3) The first couple of weeks of January. Every exception has a rule of course. Nonetheless, the 1997 ice storm that had power out for a week on the Southeastern edge of Texas was within the first two weeks of the new year. To this day many people curse the name “Entergy,” the power company that had bought out the local Gulf States Utilities and let quite a few employees go. Entergy got it’s groove back somewhat during the hurricanes of the last five years, but they also had a lot of help by linesmen from as far away as Minnesota.
The truth is — and I have said it once and will say it again — it doesn’t get really cold all that often here. I rather like that. It is probably one if not the main reason I have lived the majority of my life in Texas. That is not to say there is something kind of magic about the cold in small amounts.
What it is about a freezing night out among the Texas Pineywoods when you look up and can see every star you would just about ever want to see? I might even go so far to say that it is reminiscent of love in the air, and if not love it sure was something close enough.
I remember the first time I drove in the snow. It was 1973 and I drove my parents’ Dodge pickup out and about the streets of my hometown. I mean, no one or thing was moving except that old “Green Goose” steered fabulously by yours truly. No one had really ever taught me the finer points of driving in the snow. It was just one of those things you had to learn on your on, like swerving into a mimosa tree. I did that a year or two before the snow and remembered what I did wrong. You live, you crash, you learn, providing you live through it.
Several years when I fought fires it got pretty cold. The term “freezing my ass off” comes to mind thinking about riding on the tailboard, or back step, of our fire engine as we headed toward a fire 20 miles out into the county. Another time I remembered the spray from a fire hose leaving icecycles on my mustache, reminding me of photos I had seen of our brethern who lived in the great frozen North and fought fires all the time in such conditions.
Snow itself is pretty great in small amounts. You have to always keep in mind this is being said by one who doesn’t see snow but once every four or five years. It is interesting as well to watch a lot of what nature does and the places where it is done: a blizzard in Colorado, an Easter snow covering the White House lawn in D.C., a good ground cover back here in Southeast Texas.
In two weeks I go to Kansas City, Mo., on business. I’ve looked at extended weather forecasts and have seen one scenario in which I might leave Southeast Texas in upper 70s heat and arrive with snow on the ground and a high in the 20s. That doesn’t sound very appetizing.
Still, no matter what it ends up with I guess I am kind of a weather freak. It is something people talk about but can’t really change. And as much as people talk, and how they really, really talk a bunch of s**t, I think it is rather marvelous that such a natural order is in place.