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I Remember it Well

Today its warm, really warm, messy muddy warm, but thats the way it goes and thats the way its always gone as far as Im concerned. No, this isnt Global Warming or I mean if it is, Global Warming has been in full swing since I was a growing up cause this winter, up to this second, is a carbon copy of the winters I remember from the late sixties through the early seventies. When yours truly was learning algebra, (not) winters started wintering with a few spanking white inches of snow lying here and there by my birthday, November 15th. Thanksgiving was a day you could count on being white, a rug of white that most usually stayed all winter with a couple exceptions, the first of which was maybe a few days worth of brown patches early in December. The second brown spell, as it has this year would happen sometime early to mid January. I remember skiing as a kid and being scared in January that the bare spots on Mt. Mansfield would stay bare through the end of the year. But sure enough, after maybe a week of 50-degree temperatures and a day or so of solid rain, snow would drop again accumulating into a nice 6 to 12 incher storm, and the mountain trails would be completely covered converting January spring like skiing conditions to mid-winter conditions overnight. One thing I liked about the January thaw was after most of the snow melted and the temperature returned to the twenties, the 6 or so inches of snow left on your lawn and woods would harden so you could walk on it without smashing through. That allowed one to go mid-winter-trudging through the woods to check on your favorite spots to see how they looked and felt and smelled at that time of year. The hard snow also made it fun (and dangerous) for sliding. If you thought your plastic red snow boat flew on packed powder, you were crazy happy about the speed youd reach with that baby skipping over the crust-topped track of snow. Course it was hard to control your snow boat on the crust-topped course, but when youre eleven years old and limber to a fault, who needed control? Once the snow again covered your world in late January you readied yourself for a whopping cold snap. And I mean COLD. (You could split wood right off the ground) Memory serves me the week or week and a half spans of 15, 20, and 28 degree below weather that froze your cars fuel line into a slurpee substance so thick youd have to pour boiling water on it to get it running again. Now the days of car starting trouble seem long gone, not because of Global Warming, but because of fuel injection. Fuel injection sure does take some of the fun out of winter doesnt it? It was fun hooking jumper cables from dads truck to your car, waiting patiently, guessing when your battery had stolen enough pizzazz to turn the frozen engine just enough times that the spark would illicit your car to kick. What a relief when your car final popped to and you happily revved and revved and revved your engine, knowing youd not be benched for being late to practice. If you hadnt been regularly implementing dry gas treatments to your gas tank, a recharged battery wasnt the fix at all. So youd pull off the air cleaner, reveal your carburetor, and risk your life by spraying starter fluid into it, praying you didnt over spray and blow your car up, taking dad, mom, sis, the garage and house with you. You remember all that? Remember how numb fingers felt covered with starter fluid and how your nose dripped as the exhaust from the running car swirled and puffed and overtook the entire frozen scene? It was all fun as hell wasnt it? It built character at least, it built mine some. But now cause of fuel injection and heated seats and gol darn units that tell us where to turn, were all going soft. Used to be wed complain about sluggish acceleration because of water in our fuel lines. Now we complain that our satellite radio stations have commercials. Progress. If Im right saying this winter might well turn out like the ones I remember growing up, then were just now at the spot where were going to get more snow that will cover the brown spots. Then will come the wicked cold. Lets see if winter unfolds like that over the next two or three weeks. If it does and it continues on the cues of a 1970s winter, well basically repeat the January pattern in February. Well have snow, itll thaw some, it might snow some more, and then will come the cold. Thats how I remember it. Then comes March. I dont remember March as following that old saying, Comes in like a Lion, goes out like a Lamb. I remember it coming in like a Lion, snowing some during the month, snowing a ton at the end of the mouth, and then going back out the way it came in like a Lion. Basically March was the most snowy month as I recall, and though it didnt always boast blizzards and long stretches of deep cold, one should never had been surprised if both those things, and much more, took place. Its April I remember as coming in like a Lion and maybe, just maybe going out like a lamb. I do recall April as being more consistent then it is these days. April would start off with a bunch of snow on the ground, but most of it, in the village anyway, would go away as the month progressed. However, one should be sure about doing his or her lawn raking and door-yard tidying, because as soon as you put up your winter gear, your shovels, your windshield scarpers, your gloves and hats, Blam, down would come what often was the largest snowfall of the winter. I love April. April separates Vermont from many other states because you can have every type of everything in April, blizzards, cold, wind, rain, sun, and even extreme heat. April is multi-climatational! (I made that up in case you wondered) Ha ha ha to those of you who fall for a 70 degree second week of April. Beware, because itll break your spirit every time by serving you up a dastardly stretch of Februaryness. My advice would be not to listen too hard to the weather folks, and even folks on the street who last week during our thaw claimed it was Global Warmings fault. Listen to me when I say, the thaw that took you New Landers by surprise with among other things impassable mud-season quality dirt roads, was the norm back 30 years ago, and there is plenty of everything yet to come. Trust me.

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