Sunday, December 8, 2013

Eskimos in deep south Texas?

Gazing out my window for the past several days, I’ve seen a strange sight. There’s been little foot traffic outdoors, but I can clearly see that the folks who are out walking are all bundled up in winter jackets, knit caps or hoods, and gloves! Has south Texas been invaded by Eskimos?

They don’t look like the conventional Arctic-circle-type of Eskimos, though. I’ve seen no fur parkas, trousers or muckluck boots. No sled dogs have been prowling around our neighborhood and there are no dogsleds to be seen. Of course, there’s no snow for the sleds to travel on, either! So what’s going on?

A cold front has hit south Texas. Three days ago, in the afternoon it was sunny and 85 degrees. Down here, near the Mexican border, they call that "Chamber of Commerce weather." Twelve hours later, it was windy, cloudy with a cold drizzle and was 44 degrees! The temperatures hovered in the 40s all day, and the next morning had fallen to 38. So, those strange figures I’m seeing outdoors are just Winter Texans trying to keep warm!

Now 38 degrees doesn’t sound cold to those of you up north who are reading thermometers registering below zero. You may also be experiencing blizzards or ice storms which deep south Texas has so far escaped.

You’re right, of course, it’s not REALLY cold. But many of us down here have traveled thousands of miles just to escape northern winters! We’ve sold our snow blowers, given away our snow shovels and ice-melting salt. Some of us even got rid of our winter coats, hats and gloves, thinking we’d not need them again.

Then, suddenly, our "Chamber of Commerce weather" becomes an "Arctic Blast" instead. We have to scurry around to find the layers of clothes we need to survive, and we end up looking like overstuffed snowpeople even though we have no snow!

So, the weirdly waddling walkers I’m seeing out my window are winter-wrapped Temporary Texans, not Eskimos! We’ve all driven many miles and many days trying to escape the bitter winters of Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Maine, Colorado or Canada. But the cold weather has caught up with us anyway, and made emergency Eskimos of all of us, in spite of our attempts to find summer in December!