“Is it cold enough for you?”
The next person to ask me that will get smacked upside the head.
I loathe cold weather. The older I get, the more I mind it.
I remember white winters from my childhood that lasted from Halloween until Easter. I loved it then.
My friends and I would sled and build snowmen until we turned blue. The borough plowed snow into 4- and
5-foot mounds on the street corners. Boys in our ’hood constructed forts well-stocked with snowball ammunition.
I’d select a mound and create a snowy split-level. Once I even brought out a bucket of water to fashion a windowsill.
I was the Martha Stewart of ice décor.
My mom would have to drag me in the house.
The other day my buddy Music Dude (aka Jonathan) asked, “Do you have cabin fever yet?”
I answered honestly, “No. My problem is I like the cabin TOO MUCH!”
Hibernation totally appeals to me now in my geezer years.
Curl up after New Year’s, snooze until Easter … yeah, I could do that.
Punxsutawney Phil will make his prediction in a few days. Last year, he was wrong.
We didn’t get the six additional weeks of winter. That was fine with me.
The last shovel-able snow we had fell the third week of March. We got a chilly, but early, spring. We also suffered a ridiculously nippy June, July and August, which folks referred to as “the summer that wasn’t.”
If I was a groundhog, peacefully hibernating, and a few thousand noisy revelers interrupted my slumber, I might tell a lie, too.
I’ve only ever gotten up close and personal with a groundhog once.
One summer day, we awakened to one sunbathing on our deck. Bold as could be, he stretched out next to a chaise lounge.
Contrary to the images of loveable Gus, who sells us our lottery tickets, and cuddly Phil, noncelebrity groundhogs are territorial, irritable and downright nasty.
He caused quite a stir on our block for two days. One neighbor even volunteered to fetch his shotgun. We reminded him of penalties for firing a weapon in the borough and pointed out that he’d then be guilty of … HOGICIDE!
In the end, the groundhog left as abruptly as he’d appeared.
I love the current TV commercial to promote yearlong tourism in Punxsutawney.
“Come visit Jefferson County,” they suggest enthusiastically, “and get more than your Phil!”
I’ve already had more than my fill. Bring on spring and summer.
“Is it cold enough for you?”
- Michele Bender
MICHELE BENDER | Old enough to know better
Sing along …
“Happy Birthday once more, I just turned sixty-four.”
The beat goes on
In 1957, my stage-struck mom took my friend Jere and me to see the movie “South Pacific.” It featured awesome scenery, colorful costumes, catchy show tunes and unforgettable characters. It rolled the best of stage and cinema into one package. We were hooked!
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People expect certain routines at specific holidays.
They count on fireworks and sparklers on July 4.
Easter demands a basket of colorful eggs and candy.
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Denise stopped by and caught me napping. “How can you sleep with that bright light on?” she asked.
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February brings bridal fairs. Bargain-hunting grooms prowl Valentine ring sales, while brides-to-be lose all touch with reality.
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Did you know they still crown a “Miss America” every year?
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I often receive feedback from readers. In 2011, my friend Rick said he read my Christmas column to his kids, and they were concerned about the fate of Miss Kitty.
MICHELE M. BENDER | Every elf for himself
I’ve never been much of a shopper, even at Christmas. I’m certainly not one who’d stand in an icy, dark parking lot at 4 a.m. with some bunch of wingnuts waiting to purchase a Cabbage Patch doll.
MICHELE BENDER | It’s hard to zest a plastic lemon
At Thanksgiving, we count our blessings and express gratitude. You readers can be thankful that I’ve never invited you to dinner.
Some folks have eaten at my house and gone on to live healthy, normal lives. Others, however, tell frightening tales of grisly inedibility. Savory and usually recognizable holiday dishes have emerged looking like weasel intestines and tasting worse.
MICHELE BENDER | Let’s see a big smile
I confess! I’m a “floss-aholic.” I buy flosser pics (little plastic pics with floss stretched on one end) and keep them in the drawer beside me. I floss after eating anything.
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