The folks I work with at the hospital in Flagler Beach are mostly all transplanted Northerners who moved to Florida (when they retired) to escape the winters of their youth and adult lives. To them, nothing seems as wonderful as playing golf every day, wearing Bermuda shorts and short-sleeved tee shirts on a regular basis, and having more pairs of flip-flops than pairs of socks.
I can understand that in a crazy sort of way – because I’m just the opposite. Growing up in the south – with the almost constant heat and humidity – was the perfect preparation for me to embrace the cold and snow of the north with an open mind and a gleeful heart.
So – when I plop down at break on my volunteer day and say, “Wow! it was 42 this morning! Don’t y’all just love it,” you can imagine the response – long stories of daily snow shoveling, no electricity during ice storms, snarled traffic, and sold-out grocery stores (and, of course, trudging to school everyday in the snow – barefooted).
My reply to that is always the same. I. Don’t. Know. That. Part. All I know about REAL winter is the little bits of it I’ve experienced on Mackinac Island.
There are very few vehicles, so there’s no reason to plow anything but necessary roads for the horses, police cars and fire trucks. Yes, winter residents occasionally lose power. But most of the folks who winter there have been dealing with the inconveniences for generations. It’s the way that choose to live, and I’m pretty sure the majority of them wouldn’t change their lifestyles for anything else on earth. Snarled traffic? Only if you call it snarled traffic if a couple of snowmobiles – ridden by teenagers – turn into the school yard at the same time for a day of classes. Sold out grocery stores? Doud’s Market – to my knowledge (I know I will hear from islanders if I’m wrong on this) – has never been sold out in its 100+ year history.
So, I defend my right to love winter. And snow. And the cold. That’s easy to do when all I’ve known of a real winter includes . . .
A Mackinac Island winter . . . . we should all be so lucky!
(Many thanks to photo sharers in this order: Greg Main, Clark Bloswick (4), Grace Yakuber, Robert McGreevy, Michigan Fototkr, Clark Bloswick, and Tom Chambers!