Family: Winter in Alberta still very cold

Winter, with more than a little bit of white fury, has descended on us.

And as much as I try very hard not to complain about things I can do nothing about, I did do my fair share of moaning and groaning this morning.

Last night, it was my car that moaned and groaned and, finally, much to my absolute horror, simply died.

It’s times like that when one realizes that, without a doubt, no man or woman is an island.

With frozen fingers I dragged the booster cables out of the trunk muttering to myself ‘positive to positive, negative to negative.’

About that time my co-worker showed up with a guy who owns a garage.

With frozen fingers and the rest of my body not that far behind, I have to tell you my co-worker and the guy from the garage became my instant best friends.

My car sputtered and complained, but finally turned over just like it was supposed to and in less than an hour I found myself back in my lovely, warm, safe kitchen.

And, I was truly grateful for the help getting my car started, that the road was devoid of ice and snow and that I have a garage.

The cold weather always seems to bring back lots of ‘cold memories.’

And even as people sit in warm and crowded cafes and coffee shops, their fingers wrapped around a mug of something hot, they can recall another time and another place when it was equally cold outside, or, even colder.

My first recollection of the brutality of winter was when I was about six years-old and walking with my brother to school. My brother was 10-years-older than me, had longer legs and, consequently, walked a lot faster.

In fact, I believe he was at one end of the school grounds, the end much closer to the school, and I was at the other, when he noticed I was missing.

Going back to rescue a little sister was probably not his idea of a good time when it was so bitterly cold out, but that’s exactly what he did.

“You have to keep moving or you will freeze,” he told me, his words hanging like brittle icicles in the frozen air.

I didn’t bother to tell him I was moving, just much slower than him. And so I didn’t answer at all. I just kept moving because I really did not want to freeze.

In those days, I lived with my dad and my brothers in a bachelor pad that had very little in the way of modern amenities. In fact, it would be safe to say, it had none.

No siree!

We had no running water and the idea of turning up the heat by simply moving the dial on a thermostat seemed like something out of a fantasy film.

I can still feel the icy chill of the bare linoleum under my bare feet in the morning as I crept as close to the comforting heat from the kitchen stove as I could without burning my derriere.

The other night I sat beside my daughter as we watched two of her sons play hockey. We were in a beautiful, modern, heated arena, but, still, she was so cold, she seemed to be just freezing under her winter coat and the overhead heaters.

As I sat beside her watching her shiver, I suddenly had a flashback.

It was a frosty, cold night and I was sitting on a snowbank watching my brothers play hockey on a little outdoor rink. The rink had slab boards and was lit by three strings of lights that competed with the stars to light up the ice surface.

It was so cold, so very cold, my mittens were frozen and I could see my breath and everyone else’s breath too.

But, it seemed the whole town was there, perhaps because the home town team was on fire or perhaps that’s what everyone did in small town Alberta on a cold, frosty winter’s night.

I come back to the present and, suddenly, without warning, I see my grandson takes a slap shot. The puck goes high and straight in the net over the goalies head.

He shoots, he scores!

And, once again, it doesn’t matter how cold it is outside.

It’s good to be watching a good, old hockey game.

But I must admit it is especially good when you are sitting under overhead heaters!

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