Please read this...January coming to a merciful conclusion...

Finally...a bit of a warm up...time to get the lawn mower out of the shed and ready to go...the cold weather truly has frozen my brain...

Thank goodness. January is rapidly advancing to a merciful conclusion. Then again, January is followed by February, which this writer finds to be one of the most useless months of the year.

The first month of 2018 has been kind of interesting, at least in terms of the weather we've enjoyed in God's country. 

(By the way, if you don't live in Southern Illinois, but you still think that you are in God's country, you are not. Southern Illinois is God's country. It says so in scripture. Somewhere in Leviticus. Chapter 32, I think.)

As you may recall, The Other Half and yours truly both are "outsiders," at least in terms of establishing our roots in Little Egypt. 

She's a native of Montana, Big Sky Country, where winter weather gets really, really cold. Like 40 degrees below zero cold. Your writer's native roots were planted in Michigan, another place where it gets really, really cold during the winter. 

I don't remember anything like 40 degrees below zero, but I was pretty young at the time. Paying attention to temperatures and such things weren't on my radar. I do remember lots of snow.

The two of us eventually found our way to Southern Illinois, where winter's were "supposed" to be mild. Except for when they aren't. 

Way, way back in the day, when we had lived in Southern Illinois for just a year or two, the winter was, well, awful. Bitter cold. Lots of snow. As in lots and lots of snow. 

At the time, we were much, much younger, and the blood was flowing much, much better, so cold weather didn't bother us all that much.

One day, when most smart people would have stayed indoors, where it was warm, we decided to motor to Grand Tower, where it was not warm.

We wanted to see what the Mississippi River looked like. Turned out the river was full of icebergs. At one point, we saw a big, big ship pass by on the river. The name on the ship read "Titanic." We tried to warn the folks on the ship to slow down. Jack and Rose just smiled and waved. Jack shouted something about being "the king of the world." Yup. The cold weather really has frozen my brain.

Like everybody else, we've pretty much grown tired of January's cold and snow and ice and ice pellets, which used to be known as sleet.

That's not to say that we can't find at least a little bit of fun and adventure in winter. I've still been trying to go for a walk every day. There were a couple of times that I was pretty sure that my face had frozen during the walk. 

One afternoon, while wandering through the snow, I'm pretty sure that I spotted the tracks of a grizzly bear. Or, maybe a tyrannosaurus rex. The tracks had melted a bit, so it was hard to tell.

On a somewhat more personal note, the highlight of coping with the cold weather came when your intrepid news gatherer person was attending a meeting of a local governing body.

The meeting had come to a rather rapid conclusion, which was a good thing on a cold winter's night. Before heading out into the dark and cold of the night, donning a coat seemed like a good idea.

The coat I wear comes in several pieces. Somehow, when I had taken the coat off, the arms of said coat apparently had gotten themselves turned inside out. One of the arms seemed to be where it needed to be. One of the arms didn't. Or maybe it was both of the arms weren't where they were supposed to be. The situation rapidly deteriorated. 

Hence (I've always wanted to use that word), putting on the coat momentarily became a source of amusement for those who were watching a highly trained professional try to get dressed in a public setting. Oh, well, at least I gave folks something to talk about. Hopefully, we won't be wearing coats for much longer.

Think I've mentioned this before: an item shared by a fellow traveler on the Journey Through Life who also toils at The Paragraph Factory pretty much sums up the fun weather we've had in January: "The air hurts my face. Why am I living where the air hurts my face?"

There are some positive signs, though. The Other Half has been talking about getting her tomato plants started. Being able to pick fresh tomatoes will be a joy, much better than picking popsicles.

Even better: St. Louis Cardinals' pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to spring training in Florida on Feb. 13. Their first workout follows on Valentine's Day. Hmmmm. Maybe February isn't really useless after all... 

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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