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Thursday, December 8, 2005

Very Glad to Be Back Home in Mild Weather Land!

It's snowing in St. Louis. Now, I finally concede that St. Louis is experiencing winter.

Though it's been almost a year now since my at-long-last return to StL from Chicagoland, I remain acclimated to Chicago winters. So to me, this ain't cold. With the exception of the period when we had no heat in our house, I have not yet felt the cold unshakably deep down in my bones, which was always the feeling that signaled the start of real winter to me in Chicago. I stand by the often-open front door of the grocery store where I work and get asked, "Aren't you cold?" all day long, but ....well, no, I'm not cold. And I'll knock on wood before I type this (knock, knock), but in Chicago, you never really know it's winter until your car breaks. Yes, there are a few inches of snow on the ground right now in StL, but I'll eat my hat if they last four days. In Chicago, you look at the same snow for four months, and it gets gray and icy and hard, and what little exposed pavement there is gets this sickly pale look from so, so much chemical road salt.

(Shiver, shiver!)

My attitude may also be a result of what I used to always hear my mom say about St. Louis winters when I was a kid. Every winter, without fail, she would complain and complain that St. Louisans don't know how to drive in snow. (For the record, she grew up in Detroit, and spent several years living in Nova Scotia.)

For a Detroit-born child, or someone who's spent recent winters in Chicago, this isn't bad. But both of us had the luxury of living in homes with heat--something thousands of St. Louisans don't have--so that had a bit to do with our words as well. I guess it's all relative. If you've seen worse winters, this is bad, but if you're used to StL's otherwise warm climate or you don't have a warm place to stay, I can see how this could be overwhelming. And if you've never seen winter before, well.... Our four-month-old kittens were pretty impressed when we opened the curtains for them to look outside this morning.

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