Can People Be Winterized?

By: Knight Pierce Hirst

Winter is my least favorite season. I'm a transplanted New Englander. I live in Los Angles because I don't do cold well. December through March about all I can handle is a cold shoulder from a cold-hearted purveyor of cold cuts.

My family, however, still lives in New England. I love them in spite of that shortcoming, but it definitely wasn't my idea to visit them in December. In fact, many of my memories of the visit are still in cold storage.

Dress warmly when you go outside and you'll be fine, said my mother-in-law. Okay, I said and wrapped myself from head to toe in borrowed woolens. I turned my children's mommy into a winterized mummy.

Children think it's fun to see their breath. Because of the shock of below freezing temperatures, I found seeing my breath reassuring.

Whether I was going to the mailbox or the car, I'd run as fast as I could. In spite of that, my nose always ran faster.

Huge ear muffs protected my ears, but they didn't keep me from hearing my husband whisper those three, little words. The words wind chill factor, however, didn't make me feel all warm and fuzzy.

Although I've never wanted a fur coat, I started envying the neighborhood dogs. This prompted my mother-in-law to reach into the back of her hall closet and pull out an old, muskrat coat.

Yes, muskrats are water-living rodents; but once I put that coat on, I thought more warmly about the little creatures. I thought of them - at least the ones it had taken to make the coat - as suburban sables. After all, you can't feel you look good if you're too cold to feel anything.

Don't you feel exhilarated, asked my mother-in-law. Don't you think the weather is rejuvenating? No. I thought it was hazardous to my health. In New England you don't catch colds. They catch you and won't let go.

For a week I had to arm myself with long johns and an electric blanket to fight a personal cold war. Yes, there were warm times by the fire and times when the ice outside made it look like a fairyland; but when I think about another winter vacation in New England, I get cold feet.

Why can't my family live in Los Angeles? The only frozen thing I want to see when I'm vacationing is a margarita.

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