Winter in Payne County: bleh

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The Grim Reaper sits lurking on the western horizon.
Gosh. Our only hope is that the weather guessers got it wrong.
I know not what it is people like about winter. I just don’t get it.
Winter would be fine, I suppose, if not for the weather. And Standard Time. And less sunlight.
I shudder — quite literally — at the thought.
Quick! Give me five good things about winter. And I will spot you sledding and skiing.

Driving on icy roads is probably winter’s greatest asset. Who doesn’t love that sensation of total loss of control of a 2,000-pound vehicle careening sideways down a darkened highway?
OK. That’s three good things.
Snow, you say? Please.
I could dig the white stuff when I was a kid in school. It meant an unscheduled day or two off, never mind I would have to make it up at the end of the school year.
When it was warm. And sunny. And a delight to be outside.

Sports move indoors for the winter. That alone eliminates the greatest athletic competitions: combating the elements.
Now there is a fourth good thing.
Do you have ingrained memories of Michael Jordan sitting on the bench while taking a break? Steam rising from his body?
Any visions of John Wooden peering through raindrops?
Did Dan Gable have to wrestle a parka and Larry Owings at the same time?
Tell me what’s better than watching a pro football game played in a driving rainstorm? One played in heavy snow, perhaps?
Who remembers the Fog Bowl?

Of course, my memories of most foul-weather games were made by television. I’ve sat through downpours and bitter cold at football games and have sloshed through rain and muddy fields as an umpire.
But as one who loathes wintry weather, most of my lasting impressions were created in the warmth and comfort of my own home.
Which takes us back to cold weather.
It’s a vicious, bitter circle.

Forecasters both local and national have advised Oklahomans it’s coming. The sunny, unseasonable warmth of last week will be a memory by Monday morning, they tell us. predicts the high temperature on Monday will be 33.
And that will be the bright spot.
The temperature will not break the freezing mark, weather guessers tell us, again until Thursday. And it will not top 50 the entire week.
I may be ill.

Winter colds? The flu? Body aches and chills? A general malaise.
Such are the byproducts of winter.
Not to mention sadness.
SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder.
The head of counseling services at Oklahoma State University defined seasonal affective disorder as “a disorder that can cause depression when you don’t get enough sunshine.”
Only the desire to rub it in Old Man Winter’s face prevents me from resting my case.
Can you say “depressing”?
“Think about a lot of businesses that need good weather to be successful,” the guru on human emotions said. “It has an impact on people’s emotional framework.”

On the other side of half a hundred, I find myself moving on a regular basis toward crotchetiness. In ways, I am proud of it.
Cold weather? Bah! Humbug!
These battered old bones need some revitalizing. I’m not too unlike a cold-blooded reptile that must sit in the sun to warm its innards.
Sitting in the house peering out into the cold does not do the trick.
Neither does staring at the western horizon. Where it lurks. Waiting to envelop us. Waiting to overpower us.
While we sit in wait, desperately searching for that fifth good thing.