AMEND CORNER: The two sides of the weather


Apparently, summer is over.

We must have seen the end of summer, because we’ve had three days of overcast skies, cool temperatures and rainy skies. That sounds like fall to me, and I thought it was, until our daughter and her cousin out in Minnesota complained via Facebook that it’s way hot out there in the flatlands. They have been talking about 90s and heat advisories the last few days.

So, maybe the arrival of the autumnal equinox isn’t the reason for our fall-like weather, but if that’s the case, why have we had those cool rainy days?

I think the answer lies with old Mother Nature, who just schedules her weather events with absolutely no regard for our schedules. That’s why we sometimes have an ice storm on a day when everybody wants to hit the road to some far corner of Wyoming to watch the football team play. Then the old girl compounds her mischief with a cold wind, freezing your pants to an ice-cold aluminum bleacher seat so you can’t go to the concession stand for a cup of coffee to warm your hands.

Worse, from an economic perspective, Mom Nature seems to send rain or even a heavy wet snow just when farmers need dry weather suitable for digging beets and combining beans. I’ve actually wondered if farmers should try to fool Mother Nature by taking their beet diggers out around the middle of July and parking them on the edge of a field. That might convince Ms. Nature that it’s time send a big rainstorm right then. It might even rain enough that farmers could skip irrigating and get a little extra sleep before she figured out that she had been tricked. Of course, she might be so angry when she figures it out that she would send a foot of snow in September and delay the beet harvest anyway.

All that aside, I have to say I’m quite happy with the recent cool, wet weather. I always did like fall better than summer. That might be surprising, given that I spent half a century in school either teaching or receiving education. I spent most of summer worrying over what I was going to do in school, though, so going back to school was sort of a relief. Some years it was downright exciting.

Besides that, I don’t like being hot, so I’m happy that the weather has cooled off, and even happier that the weather stopped all the fires in Montana. I was getting pretty tired of not being able to see the mountains, and the smoky air makes my wife’s sinuses act up.

Unfortunately, my body isn’t what it used to be. In my former life, I was somewhat resistant to the cold. There was a time when I could look around during a football game and discover that everyone in the stand was wearing a parka except me. I often enjoyed the expressions on the faces of people who saw me walking coatless from the Tribune office to the coffee shop in near-zero weather, knowing they were wondering if a percentage of my brain cells had been frost-bitten.

Now, though, the cold weather, enabled by the absence of 30 pounds of the fat that once insulated my skeleton, seems to find its way into the abundant metal that is holding my backbone together. The result is that I sometimes feel as though I am wearing a necktie made of ice and I have inadvertently put the tie on backward.

Even so, I look forward to cooler weather, even though I know it will eventually turn into frigid weather. That’s because I can combat the cold by putting on more clothes or, if necessary, wrap myself in three or four afghans — we have at least that many at our house — and go back to bed. I’d rather do that than be hot. I can always put more clothes on to keep warm, but I can only take off so many before decency becomes an issue.

Next column, I’ll go back to talking politics, where decency seems to be in short supply these days — and it doesn’t look like we will get relief any time soon.