Posted tagged ‘wearing layers’

“The best men in all ages keep classic traditions alive.”

April 18, 2014

Today is yesterday and the day before: cloudy and cold. When I went to get the papers, I said good morning to the woman taking a brisk walk by my house. She was wearing a winter coat, knitted hat and gloves.  “Layered?” I asked. “Definitely!” was her answer. It is that cold this morning.

In my memory drawers the Easters of my childhood were always warm and sunny and filled with color. The traditional picture was on the front steps facing the sun and we all squinted. My straw Easter basket had alternating slats in yellow, green and red. The grass on the bottom was plastic and bright green. It struck to anything half-eaten: the candy tasted then put in the basket and saved for later. Jelly beans were big and all sorts of colors. I used to say the red was my favorite, but I think all the colors really tasted the same. The rabbit was eaten in stages. I was an ears first kid.

Easter dresses had pouffy petticoats underneath and most were in light pastels. The shoes were shiny patent leather each with a single strap across the front. My socks had a frilly, lacy top which folded over. When I was little, I couldn’t wait to get dressed in my new clothes. I’d put on my dress and turn in circles, and my dress would swish and twirl with me. I felt like a princess.

When I got older, Easter lost some of its luster for me. I still ate the rabbit’s ears first but pouff and patent leather were gone. One year I had my mother buy me a blazer, blouse and skirt combo. At my grandparent’s house Easter afternoon, I heard my aunt ask my mother about my outfit. She thought it was plain and hardly Easter. My mother told her it was what I wanted. That was enough.

I remember one Easter when I was in Ghana. It was a special day the way Easter should be. I was in Accra as I had traveled down on Good Friday, the start of school vacation week. A bunch of us went to a beach resort for the afternoon. I remember walking along the shore and then stopping to play coconut. We used a palm tree branch as the bat and a coconut as the ball. The game was fun. The whole day was fun. That night we all went to out to eat at a nice restaurant, not our usual hole-in-the-wall. The restaurant even had potatoes.

Easter still has traditions some dating back to my childhood. I sneak down early in the morning and decorate a tree by my friends’ deck. They give me a basket, and I do baskets for them. I always eat the rabbit’s ears first. We get dressed up and go to a fancy restaurant for dinner. We sit and enjoy the view of the ocean. We have the best time together.

“…we went to watch the waves that bitter day and the wind took your red cap and mittens – blew them into the sea…”

November 4, 2013

I should be singing “What a Difference a Day Makes.” Yesterday’s warmth has given way to a seasonably cold morning in the mid-40’s. The view outside my window even looks cold with a here again, gone again sun, a strong breeze and cloudy skies. The weather isn’t inviting though I’ve already been out for breakfast and have to fill the bird feeders later. I’m thinking today is a good day to lounge.

I remember walking to school every day regardless of the weather. The worst walk was during the winter when it was cold and sometimes so damp my bones would chill. My mother made us wear snow pants, thick coats, hats, mittens and sometimes boots, but when I got to a certain age, snow pants were out. I didn’t want to wear them anymore. They were, in my mind, for little kids. Worst of all was I looked silly wearing them because my uniform skirt was worn over the pants instead of tucked in, never an attractive look. My mother, still trying to keep me warm, bought me pink thermal underwear instead. I remember the legs of the underwear reached to my knees. I also remember the underwear was really ugly.

I have a winter coat but I seldom wear it. Going from the house to the car to a warm store doesn’t seem to warrant a heavy coat; instead, I wear a sweatshirt most of the winter, but if it gets really cold, like single digits, I add a lined jacket, a light jacket. I still wear mittens instead of gloves. They keep my hands warm with all the fingers interacting. I have earmuffs but am seldom outside long enough to need them. They’re an emergency item. I hate having red, cold ears.

I have a couple of pairs of boots, but I don’t wear them either. They’re the sort with laces up the front, and, in the age of velcro, that seems an awful lot of work. I usually just wait until my walk is shoveled before I go anywhere and then I wear my wool winter clogs which I have in four different colors. If nothing else, my feet are fashionable in winter.

“Time felt slower when we do nothing but wait.”

October 22, 2013

Today is the last of the warm, sunny days. Tomorrow will be cold and rainy. I have been a sloth of late so I need to motivate myself to go out and enjoy today. I’ll grab Gracie and my camera and off we’ll go.

In the winter I stay home a lot. It is, after all, usually cold which is the best reason to stay inside cozy and warm. In the summer, I am a deck denizen and love to sit and read and watch Gracie in the yard and the birds at the feeders. Right now I am just… You probably wonder if I left off a word but I didn’t. I can’t describe my mood exactly. I am not sad but I am not happy either. I am just…

I am unmotivated though I did dust strange places this morning and wet mop the kitchen floor. There was no sudden burst of energy. They were necessities. I couldn’t take it any longer. The dusting was the top of the baseboard behind the tavern table and the back of the Morris chair. The kitchen floor was filled with Gracie’s paw prints.

Grace, my student, not to be confused with Grace my dog, had her appointment at the embassy today hoping to get a visa to visit. I think she is probably done already given the time change. I called but got no answer. She is willing to come even in the cold, but Grace has no idea what cold really is. During the harmattan, especially around December, the nights are cold but only in comparison to the hot, hot days. I had a wool blanket on my bed. The mornings during the harmattan were my favorite times of the day. They felt like cool fall mornings when you knew the sun would soon enough warm the day. My students wore layers of sweaters. They complained bitterly about the cold. I relished it. It was such a strange feeling to be cold in Ghana. Well, Grace is in for a jolt. I doubt she owns enough layers for November cold. Luckily I have plenty of jackets. I don’t even know if Grace owns shoes. Sandals are all everyone wears. Shoes are unhealthy. Maybe our first stop will be a shoe store.

I am on tenterhooks waiting.