People like to talk about the weather.
I was getting the oil changed in my car the other day and one of the men working at the shop commented on the mild winter weather we have been having. He said that we were likely to have a lot of bugs this year because it hasn't been real cold yet.
I overheard a lady at church Sunday commenting that she was tired of winter. She said she was ready for spring.
Personally, I have enjoyed this particular winter's weather. It has been pretty mild, even spring-like for the most part.
I was born and raised in North Dakota. Winter is winter up there. Snow and cold are an everyday occurrence, not just once a winter.
I remember going trick-or-treating on many Halloween nights dressed up with a big parka and snow boots, wearing mittens and a scarf. Our Halloween costumes were hidden by our attempts to keep warm.
Once it snowed, the snow was on the ground for five or six months; and believe me, it was cold.
One winter the snows were so bad that the whole backside of our house was covered by snow drifts, from the ground to the roof. We could get out our front door, barely, and we had to dig through those deep drifts to get to the back door. My brother and I dug a tunnel through the drifts so we could look in our bedroom window.
We always went outside to play in the winter back in those days. We didn't stay cooped up in the house for months waiting for spring.
There were no video games back then. There wasn't a TV in every room of the house. There were no cell phones to text or tweet or call our friends on. We went outside and enjoyed the snow and ice together.
We built snow forts and played army or cowboys and Indians.
When the weather was right we had snowball fights.
On special days, we would go to Lincoln Park and go sledding down the hills on the golf course, or we would go to Elks Park and go ice skating at the outdoor ice rink.
One winter, my father and our next door neighbor cleared away most of the snow from our back yards and they dug out a garden hose and flooded the two yards. Within a matter of hours, we had one big ice rink and the kids in the neighborhood skated and played hockey all winter long.
We didn't have "snow days" like we do here in middle Tennessee, where we would get out of school if it snowed. If it snowed a little or a lot we had school, and we walked to school.
My brother and sister and I went to Lewis and Clark Elementary School. It was about six or seven blocks from our house. We would bundle up in all of our winter warm clothes, layers of it, and we would walk to school, and we would walk home again. Once we got our afternoon snack, we would head back outside to play in the snow.
We used to talk about the weather back then too. We would talk about how we were looking forward to the spring; and we knew that whether the groundhog saw its shadow or not we were going to have a lot of winter days ahead.
But, you know what? It's one thing for me to reminisce about those days and remember how much fun we had back then, but you can be guaranteed that I do not want to go through that kind of weather again.
I love living in middle Tennessee. I am thoroughly enjoying this mild winter; and whether we have a lot of bugs this summer or not, I like not having to wear long-johns (thermal underwear) and several layers of pants and shirts underneath my coat, wrapped up with a big woolen scarf and topped off with a stocking cap and gloves.
I am enjoying this winter. I am looking forward to spring too. And then summer after that. And I love autumn in Tennessee. And then next winter. All four seasons; I love them.
And I enjoy talking about the weather just like the next guy.
-- Doug Dezotell is the pastor of Mt. Lebanon UMC and Cannon UMC. He is a former staff writer for the Times-Gazette, and he is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a friend to many. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.