By PETTUS READ
With the holidays all over and the weather being pretty much on the cold side the last few weeks in Tennessee, winter has been the major discussion topic around every country store, church meeting and even over at the bank.
ust trying to get from your car to the bank lobby with northern breezes whistling around every corner has given a totally new meaning to the term "cold cash." It hasn't been any different out on Uncle Sid and Aunt Sadie's farm either. The other day as I pulled in the long gravel driveway of their farm, the winter wind was blowing to beat the band and the yellow glow of light coming from Aunt Sadie's "Gone With the Wind" hurricane lamp in the window of their white frame house was sure a welcome sight on that dark cloudy day I made my visit.
As I made my way up the walk I met Uncle Sid coming from his bird feeders where during this time of the year he looks after numerous cardinals. The wind whistling around the corner of the house was pushing us both to the kitchen door. Aunt Sadie met us both there wiping her hands on her apron and led me to the back portion of their house where the old couple spends most of their time. There, sitting on the round kitchen table, were some of Aunt Sadie's teacakes and coffee for both Uncle Sid and myself. As we warmed up with the goodies we seemed to settle into some kind of trance watching a brief snow flurry out the back kitchen window, falling across the couple's old farm. It was a pretty sight with the white landscaped hillsides and the many red cardinals getting seed from birdfeeders the couple religiously maintains. I guess I could have enjoyed it even more if it hadn't been for the fact that we had already seen about all the cold we wanted over the past several days and it was only the first of January.
After enjoying another couple of Aunt Sadie's teacakes, I asked Uncle Sid the question we all seemed to be asking right now, "When is the thaw coming?"
The old man never bothered to even look my way, but answered, "You're about as patient as a tomcat on a marble floor ain't you. It'll come. When it does, we will all start complaining about how hot it is and want to know when it is going to cool off. It has always worked that way and probably will for as long as we will be around. Folks up in Washington are still all hested up over global warming and if it continues to keep on warming like they say it's going to, then we all are going to freeze to death."
Over near the kitchen sink Aunt Sadie chimed in to add her two cents to the conversation and said, "Yeah. I'm just glad they haven't done any studying on global chilling. If that comes about, we had better plan on Tennessee becoming a desert and selling our cattle to buy camels, because it sure will get hot if the chilling works like this warming they are talking about."
I could see that little sparkle in her eye and knew she was enjoying her opportunity to compete with Uncle Sid. However, I knew he would not let it end like that.
While dunking his teacake in his coffee cup, he answered her back, "You just may have something there Sadie. It is sort of like this wind chill factor and heat index we hear on the TV weather reports all the time. If they could reverse those two and give the chill factor in the summer and the heat index in the winter, instead of the other way around, it would make us all feel better about the temperature outside. Why it was so cold at the barn yesterday the rats in the corncrib were asking the cats for a snuggle.
I've been around for several years and I've seen weather cycles change every so many years and that seems to be what we have going on for us right now. When we were young, the snow was always deeper and the winters colder than what we experience when we are older. Just wait, we will forget about the cold before long and start worrying about the heat and dry weather. Always have and always will."
You know, he's right. It always helps to listen to a little common sense on a cold winter's day.
-Pettus L. Read writes for the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. He may be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org