Archive for Thursday, January 14, 2010

Decades of memories provide perspective

January 14, 2010

I'm at an age that I have perspective. I have a good five-plus decades of experience to call on when confronted with something out of the ordinary, such has the weather of the past month.

At least I prefer to call it perspective and experience. They sound much better than the boring recollections of an aging baby boomer.

At any rate, the winters of my past that stand out — all but one of my winters were spent in Kansas — are those of 1959-60, 1979-80 and 1980-81. During the earliest of those, I lived in Meriden north of Topeka. That was also a late winter, with heavy snows throughout February and into March. I remember having to go to school on Saturday mornings to make up for lost days. There was snow on the ground until Easter, when everything turned to mud. We were scheduled to stay in school until June, but we were spared when a tornado took the school and much of the rest of the town in mid-May. Crazy weather seems to breed more crazy weather.

Of the two back-to-back winters of the early 1980s, one established a record for days with a high lower than freezing and the other for days with snow on the ground. During one, I remember watching a TV outdoors fishing show with something like a homesick longing for the greenery shown.

Odd, but after those back-to-back freeze outs, bad winters went away. Sure there were those with a few horrid weeks (December 1990, March 1998, December 2000 come to mind) but long, cold, snowbound winters were avoided. There were years when February had day after day of temperatures in the 50s, 60s or more.

It's odd, I recall those mild years but not as vividly as the bad ones. It seems the latest was three years ago, but it could have been four. This mid- to late-aughts type of vague recall is how I remember other exceptionally mild winters. I can’t pin-point them in my memory like I can the bad ones.

I take from this, that bad or hard times make a bigger impression than good. But from my perspective, I still prefer the good.

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