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Mielke: Winter has its own gifts

It has arrived.

It has arrived.

Right on schedule.

No. Not an Amazon package waiting on the front doorstep.


Winter, in all its black and white glory, has arrived.

It’s kind of hard to get excited, isn’t it? Snowbirds get excited, or people with really good imaginations. Or eternal optimists like Toronto Maple Leafs fans, of which I am one.

And even people who live here without flying away to some warm, exotic place manage to enjoy themselves somehow and not go into a seasonal pout until spring, I swear, I have, on occasion, even heard these good people questioning themselves about why they live in such a godforsaken country.

Oh, on second thought, that was me complaining to myself.

Anyway, even I have been known to find some joy in the season of winter and I am sure it will happen again, although not today.

I remind myself that winter has its own gifts. There is ice skating and curling. There is cross-country skiing and downhill skiing. There are winter fests and carnivals.

And, of course, Christmas.

Oh, my goodness, that is coming sooner than later, isn’t it?

Once again, something to look forward to in a deep and dark December when icy roads and engines that refuse to play nice and start seeming the norm.

I, of course, was not ready when winter showed up this year in spite of the fact I am a born and raised Albertan and should know better.

My brother told me I was born in a February snowstorm, for crying out loud. I was born in the Eckville Hospital, which, of course, no longer exists, but I’m sure in those days, when the hospital was fairly new, that many mothers from little outlying towns such as Condor were grateful for that modern, new facility.

Anyway, as I was saying, I was not ready for winter at all, even though I had written about it, knew it was coming and had, many weeks prior, turned my air conditioning off and my heat on.

My procrastinating ways showed up right along with the first snowfall.

Just like everyone else in Central Alberta I woke up to howling winds and a blizzard that seemed to mean business.

I should have been prepared.

But I was not.

I couldn’t find my winter boots. My snow tires were still the shed. And I had parked my little white Sonata in the driveway, not the garage, so it was almost obliterated by the blizzard that, apparently, meant business.

Because I am one of the lucky ones who no longer has to brave icy roads to and from work each and every day, I only had to drive across town for an appointment that day. That was bad enough and I was white-knuckled and grouchy when I arrived home.

I muttered something about living in this terrible country sounding very much like my father and his father before him and went to turn up the heat, momentarily forgetting to be grateful for the little things, like a thermostat.

Did I actually live in a house heated with a coal and wood stove when I was a kid? Did I perch myself on a snowbank to watch my brothers play hockey?

You bet I did!

And do I miss those days?

Well, I have to say if I had one moment in time to go back there to the days when my brothers were alive and well and cheering for Toronto Maple Leafs just like they used to, I would be there, in a heartbeat.

But, turning up the heat with the flick of a thermostat. Oh, that’s nice. So, nice!

Treena Mielke is a Central Alberta writer. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.