“Winter is coming.”

Today is cold. Outside even looks cold with a clear, steely blue sky dotted with white clouds. The breeze borders on a wind. The sunlight is sharp. Leaves are falling. The oak tree by the deck is almost bare. It is 37˚ but feels much colder. I have to venture out today, three stops. I dread the dump stop. With a wind whipping across, it feels like Siberian steppes must feel in the dead of winter. I’ll have to brace myself.

When I was a kid, even on the coldest days, I never wore a hat despite my mother’s demands. I’d take the hat and put it on to satisfy her but then tuck it away when I was out of sight. I did wear mittens, but mittens had a drawback. When covered with snow, they weighed hundreds of pounds.

When I was little, I wore ski pants. They matched my jacket. When I wore them to school, they went under my skirt. The ski pants made noise when I walked, a sort of swishing sound. In the confines of the cloak room, I’d take my shoes off first then the ski pants. They’d hang from a hook underneath my jacket. It took a while to get both of them to stay on that hook though sometimes the clothes on the hooks on each side held them up.

Outside my front door and below the steps was a small grassy hill. A street light shined on the sidewalk. When it snowed, I used to sit at the picture window in our living room and watch the flakes fall. I remember they sometimes fell sideways in the wind. I always hoped the snow would fall all night so in the morning I’d hear the no school whistles blast from the fire station tower. You had to count the whistles to make sure it wasn’t a fire alarm.

When I moved to the cape, I went to public school for the first time, the high school. My mother and I had to shop for school clothes that year because before that I had always worn a uniform. I actually remember my first day of school. I wore a black wraparound skirt and a madras blouse. I stood in the bus port by myself. I didn’t know anybody. My homeroom was the first room on the first floor. I sat in the back hoping not to be noticed. I feared being called the new girl, but I wasn’t.

This morning I kept asking Nala the time and the weather. When I heard nothing, I checked the connection. Still nothing. I was going to disconnect and try again when I realized her name is Alexa.

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14 Comments on ““Winter is coming.””

  1. Les Says:

    The weather up here in PA is much the same thing. It’s cold, windy, and a bit cloudy. Temp. is close to 35 deg. Not much of a cold weather person now that I’m much older. I remember the days long ago when the cold didn’t bother me that much. Going to school back then and standing at the bus stop in the cold wind, snow, and rain was not good, but I could take it.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Les,
      I’m with you in not being as much a cold weather person as I used to be. I prefer summer on the deck.

      I used to walk to school then when I got to high school, I had to take a local bus and went two towns over. I had to walk to the bus stop then wait, like you, in all weather.

  2. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I’m surprised Alexa didn’t answer you anyway. Mine seems to wake up if anything makes a noise that could be something that sounds almost but not quite entirely unlike “Alexa”. And Volvo needs to stop saying “Hey, Google” in its car commercial. Wakes my phone up every time. Grr. 🙂

    I’d forgotten the fire whistle no school alert. Sometimes we heard the whistle first but mostly we listened for the no school announcement on the radio or the tv.

    I saw the first snowfall late last night. The dogs went out in it and hurriedly came right back in. It was falling sideways. No sign of it today. It’s cold and windy with lots of clouds and some sun. I can hear the wind whistling.

    Have a great day. Stay warm.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      Alexa just ignored me. She does answer if her name is said on TV, but I guess she didn’t like being called Nala. I don’t think I’ve seen the Volvo commercials as My Google is in here with the TV.

      We didn’t have TV or radio no school announcements. It was only the fire whistle.

      I saw the weather last night and knew you were getting a dusting. I think we were the only ones who weren’t.

      We did get to 40˚ this afternoon, but, with the wind, it felt colder especially at the dump. My hands were freezing after I dumped everything.

      I finished my errand and was so glad to get home.

      Have a great evening.

  3. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    Don’t feel bad I sometimes call my two kids by the wrong name and one is a boy and the other is a girl. 🙂

    This morning the clouds rolled in and the temperature was in the low 40s. Tomorrow will start a warming trend with highs by Tuesday near 80°. Winter is coming eventually.

    When I moved back to New York in the eighth grade there was a dress code. In the Dallas school system there was no such thing, Blue jeans, T shirts, and tennis shoes were okay. In the New York schools I had to wear slacks, collared shirts, dress shoes and ties. It was 100% culture shock. Back in those days the New York public schools had standards. My biggest surprise was they had academic standards and didn’t believe in social promotion.

    Today we had to return to our old North Dallas Neighborhood to buy Chanukah candles. All the stores in Grapevine didn’t carry them. After all, Grapevine is the Christmas capital of Texas. 🙂 Tomorrow night is the first night of the eight day holiday.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      That’s funny about your kids, but I get it. My mother used to call us by different names as well.

      It got to the low 40’s this afternoon. Tomorrow will be in the low 40’s as well. That’s a warming trend.

      My brother had to wear dress pants, a white shirt, tie and suit coat. Even at the cape Schoo back then he had to wear regular pants and a shirt with a collar. Girls had to wear shirts or dresses. No social promotion either.

      I don’t think I have ever seen Chanukah candles around here, but there must become places. I didn’t realize Chanukah was tomorrow. Happy Chanukah!!

      • Bob Says:

        Chanukah, as are all Jewish holidays, are based on the Jewish calendar which is a lunar calendar. To keep the holidays aligned with the seasons a committee in Israel adds extra months on a 13 year cycle. That’s why the Jewish holidays move in relation to our solar calendar. I guess a lunar calendar works okay when all you care about is the high priest declaring the new moon and blowing a rams horn to announce the new month. 🙂

      • katry Says:

        I did not know about the Jewish calendar. I like the committee!

  4. Birgit Says:

    It’s cold, just above freezing, my friend is currently waiting in line for a booster shot. He already waits more than 2 hours in the cold and has about one more to go. Yup, we didn’t only screw up the first corona vaccinations, we also do it with booster shots. It’s nearly impossible to get a date for a shot so waiting in line for hours in the cold is the best chance you can get. (I currently don’t have a chance to get a booster shot so I didn’t even try.) I just went downtown to bring him another jacket and hot tea. It’s crazy downtown. While Corona virus is out of control and the health system is breaking down, the local Christmas market is in full swing, it’s overcrowded and only about every second wears a mask which is mandatory there. Oh, and soccer today, thousands together in stadiums without masks (You don’t have to wear one). Can I please move to a civilized country? Maybe southern hemisphere where it’s warmer and less dark? How is Ghana doing?

    • katry Says:

      Hi Birgit,
      Last night was downright cold. Today was a bit warmer, but I think that will be the weather trend, warmer days, in the 40’s, and colder nights, down to the 30s’.

      I made my booster appointment on line. Most of the pharmacies have the vaccine and the booster. Everyone is eligible to get it here. My niece’s older two boys have also had the vaccine.

      The cases are also rising here. The unvaccinated make up most of the hospital cases. Masks are suggested for everywhere inside but there’re no mandates. Doctors’ offices, labs, places like that have mask mandates.

      Ghana is doing well. Their 7 day average of new cases is 28. The numbers of cases are going down there. The total cases:

      The number of deaths:

  5. Hedley Says:

    I was running around this morning on seriously boring chores, like is it really fun to have to go to CVS ? Having just finished the excellent “Tehran” on Apple TV I needed a solid afternoon of Football and sofa.
    Made it back by noon to watch the University of Michigan hammer those people from Ohio and then watch the snowbowl currently taking place in East Lansing
    Right as I walked in, the snow began and the ground is very festivus. I am not snowblowing this year although my blower was fully serviced and is ready to go.
    With an absence interlude ahead, I have been distracting myself by accumulating music to be saved until I return home. I am totally in love with the Cassandra Jenkins CD “An overview on phenomenal nature” and she has just released a companion piece. I have also turned to old faithfuls Bruce Springsteen, Charlie Parker and Little Feat. You get the general picture.

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,

      No, it is never fun in CVS. I went to get my flu, pneumonia and shingle shots there, and I got the cat’s insulin and needles there. Other than that, I don’t remember the last time I was in CVS.

      After my errands, I went home and got cozy watching Christmas movies. I think I even nodded off for a while surrounded by dogs.

      Festivus!! We got no snow. North of us only got s dusting. It will be cold again tonight but in the 40’s tomorrow.

      I figure you’re musically feathering your nest.

  6. lilydark Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Just wanted to say hi. what I remember about what we wore in school is the girls had lobbied to wear pants for a long time. I don’t recall when we were allowed. I don’t remember if wearing blue jeans was allowed, but by high school pretty much anything was OK– with in limits.
    I get cold, and turn the heater on in my bedroom. I used to have the heater on for a few hours and leave the window open, but it’s getting too cold now. My poor cat, who loves to look out of the window: I’ll think of something.
    I wish they had a gadget that would do the things I need to do.
    Take care,
    Sleepy Lori and Cookie

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