Wednesday's Words, by Morgan Ashbury

This past weekend the weather finally stumbled out of the deep freeze that most of us have been suffering through for far too many days. On Saturday, here, it was a balmy 46 degrees. But the slight wind kept us from feeling any warmth. Instead of just being cold, this past weekend we were cold and wet.

I think a good half of the snow we had here melted. But it didn’t really melt away. It pooled and became watery ice and then, overnight, it would harden again. The snow in our back yard is now ice-covered, which I don’t mind, necessarily. Tuffy, however, doesn’t care for it.

I should qualify that. He doesn’t like walking over it, but does like that the last few days have been milder. He’s been able to stay outside longer, allowing him to take complete olfactory inventory of every critter who, over the last couple of weeks, dared to enter his yard when he was tucked up safe and warm inside.

He’s a dog (no longer a puppy since he turned 1 on Christmas Day) who enjoys his front porch and his back yard. We did keep him in over the worst of the cold, not letting him out at all—not even for a minute. This meant making sure we had a pad down for him, which he used properly. But he’s little, and that wasn’t too bad an ordeal for either of us (him or me) to endure.

My dear husband returned to work on January 6, after being home for 17 straight days. Or I should say, he tried to return to work. They worked a half day on Monday, and then were sent home upon arrival on Tuesday, because of the bitter cold. Quarry work is outside work and company policy does cite the lowest temperature for working. The temperatures here were below that.

Thank God Wednesday turned out to be a full day on the job for him. Murder was therefore, fortunately, averted.

It’s amazing, in a way, how quickly I was spoiled by two previous winters that only had a couple of minor cold snaps, and snow that kept melting away completely. It’s been a lot of years since we had snow that came in early December and stayed. I think I’ve lost my immunity to the weather that I used to have. Going outside every morning to take David to work, and then again to pick him up in the afternoon had me used to being out in the snow and ice. Now, I only venture out Thursday afternoons to bring him home. Sometimes not even that. When it’s been a couple of weeks since I made that trek to the next county, I’m always shocked at the progression of the season.

The very poor condition of some of our roads these last few days has been another shock. In some areas the plows hadn’t done a very good job; in others, they were too enthusiastic, and left potholes behind to prove it.

One result of that ice storm that we had here in Southern Ontario a few days before Christmas was that within a day of it, there was no safety salt left to be had at any of the stores.

In fact, we were unable get any as late as yesterday. The manager of our local grocery store said salt was en route, on Sunday. We’re still waiting.  In the interim, I mostly stayed inside the house. I’m at the point in my life where falls are to be avoided at all costs.

Monday, my eleven year old grandson came over with his sister, and he took a shovel and cleared the ice from my walkway. He’s growing up to be a good little man.

Most people are lamenting about how long this winter has seemed already. We have, potentially, two months of the season left to go. In this area of life only, I take a pessimistic view, and I believe that view actually leads to an optimistic outlook.

Most people cling to that outdated tenet that winter “officially” begins on December 20th or 21st, depending. Not me. October first, baby. That is the first day of winter in my book, and it doesn’t stay here in my part of Canada for a paltry three months. No siree, it’s ours for half a year.

And by that reckoning, we are already nearly two-thirds done with the bitch. Ground Hog Day is in just 18 days. It’s just about time to celebrate.




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