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What's So Nice About Winter?

by Ron Kitson

Had I been born and raised in Venezuela like Omar Vizquel, I would probably love it down there but for me, getting used to the same hot weather all year long would not be easy.

I'm inclined to agree with Pat that the Holidays are nicer "Up North." I also agree that one really has to experience winter to truly appreciate Spring. However, after having experienced almost 70 of them from Northern Ontario to Northern Ohio, I believe I will remember enough of it to always be able to appreciate Spring.

While I used to be a guy who loved all four seasons, I've about reached the point where I'm only really enjoying three of them.

Nowadays, I would enjoy stepping up to the first tee somewhere in Florida more so than stepping outside to clean a foot of snow from our driveway, knowing very well that by the time we get back from shopping, it will likely have blown in again.

While I don't consider myself old, I am ready to admit that I have reached the age where warmth is more comfortable than cold, sand and fairways are more appealing than snow drifts and golf clubs are more fun than snow shovels.

We both enjoy Christmas in Northern Ohio and how could you not, but I would be willing to sacrifice that. The retailers like to see snow by Thanksgiving to get shoppers in a Christmas spending mood and we all enjoy a White Christmas.

One problem with winter up north is that it lasts too long. I can only enjoy one snow storm and then it starts to wear on me. Regardless of the actual calendar dates, the four seasons are out of balance here.

Spring is pretty much April and May, June is a toss up and Summer for the most part is July and August. Fall is pretty much September and October and our first winter storm can come as early as Halloween, so we have two and a half months of Spring, about the same for Summer, another two months of Fall and then five months of Winter.

For anyone who doesn't care much for the cold northern winters, but have children and grandchildren here, right after Christmas is a nice time to pack up and head south and stay down there until the daffs are up. Then, come back and enjoy the miracles of Spring.

Our December entertainment highlight each of the past few years has been a trip with close friends to Severance Hall in Cleveland for the annual Christmas Concert featuring the world famous Cleveland Orchestra, Choir and Childrens Choir.

Following the performance, we dine out in nearby Little Italy and both the concert and the dinner have always been outstanding. Just seeing and hearing the Cleveland Orchestra play Leroy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride" is well worth admission. I would miss that a lot, but it would pass.

I can enjoy the first blanket of snow and all the seasonal decorations but by New Years, I'm singing that old Bill Anderson tune "I've Enjoyed As Much Of This As I Can Stand" and we still have January, February and March to put up with.

I've been to Florida many times during the winter and love it. My parents used to spend the winters down there and I would visit them, usually in February. I understand Arizona is also good "Snowbird" country but it's so far from Ohio. I don't think we would ever move permanently to one of those southern winter retreats because they are just too hot in the summer for us northern folks.

Many years ago we took our kids to Orlando and Daytona Beach in mid summer and it was so hot, you could have roasted a turkey in our van. Or, as Johnny Carson said one time, "It was so hot I saw a dog chasing a cat and they were both walking." I think that was our last vehicle without air conditioning.

And if the heat doesn't get to you, the noseeums will. Those piranha-like insects are so small you can't seeum but you sure can feelum. They hide in the sand waiting for humans to walk by and then attack your legs.

I think the time is near when we will try to enjoy winter until the Holidays and head for that palm peninsula. Nelson, one of our old golfin' buddies has been wintering over in Florida since Old Shep was a pup and they head down in early fall and return in late April or May. I think they leave a few days earlier each fall and come back a little later each spring.

All winter long he sends me e-mails about golfing or walking around the trailer park in shorts and t-shirt. "A little chilly here this morning Ron, it was only 60 and I had to put a sweater on for the first couple of holes. How's the weather up there?"

Actually, winter is a beautiful time of year and I think I probably should shoot some video this winter. Then, later on if we are wintering in Florida and get to longing for the beauty of snow, I can pop that cassette in the VCR.

Since we can't just curl up and go to sleep for the winter, a person needs to spend it where you can enjoy it and feel comfortable.

Anytime after enjoying the colors of autumn and getting the fallen leaves cleaned up, I'm ready to migrate. However, I only get one vote as does she but I lack the veto power she enjoys so, when she's ready to head south for the rest of the winter, we're outa here.

In the meantime........Brrrr

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