Two seasons: 10 months of ugly, two months of windy

Enough already. Been there, done that. What’s with this deep freeze? The winter from hell, only a lot colder. These are the kinds of perfectly legitimate gripes and moans I’ve been hearing for quite a while now, some of them from my own self.

Enough already. Been there, done that. What’s with this deep freeze? The winter from hell, only a lot colder.

These are the kinds of perfectly legitimate gripes and moans I’ve been hearing for quite a while now, some of them from my own self.

This is all true, of course, because one thing is always for sure: no matter what happens, somebody (most of us) will complain about the weather.

But I would argue face to face with Mother Nature that we, those of us stuck here without the ways, means, opportunity or common sense to make like snowbirds and head south — we here deserve a break. A spring break would be nice. Preferably in, say, California.

I mean, the average temperature for this time of year, according to a recognized unofficial meteorologist (my neighbour) is supposed to be, and I quote, “Really a lot warmer.”

In fact, according to, Central Alberta has a “cold season” that “lasts from Nov. 21 to March 4 with an average daily high temperature of -1C.”

After you have finished with the hysterical laughter and the eye rolling, get this — it is also notes that: “the coldest day of the year is (typically) Jan. 7, with an average low of -18C and high of -7C.”

Sure, and all the unicorns have snowshoes.

If I am not mistaken, and I usually am, for a long, long winter starting around Halloween and still freezing all the way into February where we are currently stuck in humongous snowbanks, the old mercury in the old thermometer has been pretty much perpetually frozen well below anything normal, average or tolerable.

In fact, -1C would virtually be like summer right about now, prompting us snow-shocked Albertans to be strutting around in T-shirts and hiking shorts. Come to think of it, -1C is about the average temp of our typical summer!

As I have may have alluded to ad nauseum previously, before the famous, self-appointed climate change expert Al Gore (who is actually just a politician, and not a really good one at that) made the weather all weird by somehow winning an Academy Award for a film about climate change that someone else made with his money, it used to be that we had fairly predictable things called seasons, which happened several times a year and featured significantly different weather than previous so-called seasons.

Now we have, basically, two of these seasons.

One is called the Ugly Season, which is 10 months of unsettled, unpredictable, unacceptable weather anomalies; the other is called Windy.

As a matter of fact, I used to say to my Rotten Kids: “Rotten Kids,” I would say, “when I was your age, winter was winter and summer was summer.”

And they would say right back, “Dad, could you stop talking,” they would say. “We’re playing Zelda and the Enchanted Sword Sky Kingdom of Doom right now.”

And I would say back, “When I was your age I was outside in the weather doing something useful like throwing snowballs at someone or raiding gardens,” and then I would add: “What on earth is an Enchanted Sword Sky Kingdom and who the heck is Zelda?”

And one or the other little reprobates would say: “Bye, Dad. Close the door to my room on your way out.”

And then I would tell the plaintiff story of how I used to trudge the five or six long winter blocks all the way from Parkvale to Central School every day in -40F (-125C) and since I had a stunningly large and perfect hair wave made invincible by a gallon (2.5 litres) of Suave hair cream, I refused to cover my shining greasy head with a tuque. Heaven forbid!

So I would arrive at school with my jughandle ears bright red and painful, terrified that if anyone brushed against them they would break right off and shatter like an icicle falling from an eaves trough.

And then Mr. Mallet the principal would say “Don’t worry, your ears are only frozen when they turn white, and that’s when they fall off and shatter.”

But I knew my Dumbo ears were in peril so my Mom bought me these weird ear muff thingies. Two oval-shaped soft discs that independently snapped over each ear so that you looked like a kid with a huge hairwave and two black pieces of cloth glued to each side of your head.

These didn’t even work very well and lasted about one day after my buddies and my imaginary Grade 6 girlfriends laughed at me way past first recess.

I tried a wide stretchy wool headband thingie, which was quite warm I must say, but after about a week I noticed many of the girls and none of the guys wore such thingies, so that was definitely an unacceptable solution.

From then on, until I decided to join a band, ditch the Suave wave and stop cutting my hair altogether (I blame it on The Beatles appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show), I decided to not bring any school books home so that I could physically hold both ears, one in each hand so that the cold winter season of long ago wouldn’t freeze them white and make them fall off.

So why am I telling you all this? See, back then, we all knew that spring was coming, that soon we’d be putting the grey winter moccasin muk luks away, digging out the red and black rubber boots, mothballing the winter jacket and having nary a care for hairwave compromising headgear. We’d soon be floating toothpicks and matchsticks and tiny branches down little gutter rivers on our way to and from school, because winter would be over!

“That’s how things used to be back several centuries ago when I was a kid,” I’d say to the RKs.

And they’d say: “Dad, how come everybody your age always talks about the weather?”

And I’d say, “Move over you two and give me that Zelda controller thingie. I’m not going outside until summer.”

And they’d say, “Dad?” as they furiously click and clack away, slaying dragons and flying Zelda around in the magical world of Nintendo. “What’s summer?”

Harley Hay is a local freelance writer, award-winning author, filmmaker and musician. His column appears on Saturdays in the Advocate. His books can be found at Chapters, Coles and Sunworks in Red Deer.

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