SHARING and CARING…it’s what LIFE is all about!

Bitter and Sweet December

Posted by on Dec 2, 2012 in Blog, Family, Memories | 6 comments

She looked at me as if to say, “Isn’t God’s creation beautiful, even in the winter?”

Snow! Blizzards! Freezing rain! Ice! Yes, it’s December and with the flip of the calendar, we suddenly face cold weather, threatening snow storms, unforgiving ice and the promise of a long winter ahead.

Before this dreaded season comes to an end, I know icicles will hang precariously from eaves and trees, sharp wind will blow and leave me breathless and teary-eyed and my beanie bag will be heated nightly to keep my feet warm. I count the days until December 21st comes and goes. It’s the shortest day of the year and when that day is Xed out on my calendar, I can begin another countdown…for spring!

There are no words that can adequately explain my disdain for winter. However, in an effort to instil some logic into such an attitude, I can only guess that it was the frostbite I experienced one ill-fated day when I was in Grade 8.

On the other hand, it may have been the rash I used to get under my chin.

Or, it may have been both.

The frostbite episode involved wearing galoshes over running shoes and struggling through a long, homeward-bound trek up Yonge Street in Willowdale after a full day of tobogganing in Hoggs Hollow. I thought my feet would fall off! But when you’re thirteen, logic and reasoning are often absent when it involves hanging out with your peers, even without the proper footwear. But, I survived, although my feet still have a strong aversion to the cold—maybe that’s why I depend so much on my beanie bag!

The rash under my chin is another story. Words like unforgiving monster come to mind! If I scratched it, which I did repeatedly, it raised its ugly head and increased its rage, and doubled in size and intensity. Burning hot, it raced around my chin and neck with a vengeance. I was totally at its mercy.

It came from a wool scarf tied securely around my neck. I used to blow into it trying to keep my face warm on my long walk to and from school. Naturally, part of it found my mouth! The result…a warm, but damp scarf that never had a chance to dry during the morning hours at school before we were sent home for lunch. No bag lunches. No lunch pails. No lunch rooms. Just a very long walk for very short legs, all the while rubbing the rash as it progressively grew in size.

It was a love-hate relationship. I loved the warmth my scarf provided, but I hated the rash. I knew I shouldn’t scratch it, but it was desperately itchy and being a child I would not—perhaps could not—stop scratching it, even in my sleep!

I remember my mother taking me to the doctor’s fearing it was impetigo. “No,” the doctor had responded with a terse finger in my face, “just stop sucking your scarf!”

Easy for him! He didn’t have to face the mountainous snow banks beckoning him on his daily journeys. How else was my little face to keep warm, I thought indignantly.

Fortunately, the rash went away with the melting snow and the promise of spring. But each winter it returned until I finally realized that sucking on a wool scarf—regardless of how cold I was—wasn’t the thing to do when in high school.

There’s another side to the flip of the calendar, a much warmer, sweeter side. It comes in the form of a celebration; it’s my hubby’s birthday month. In fact, it’s today! We’ve shared over 50 birthdays, and the joy I experience in having Doug in my life melts away any dread the month of December brings. I may detest winter, but I can’t help smiling at the memories and birthdays we’ve shared.

“Happy birthday, Hon, I’m planning on you having many, many more!”

(But, I must confess…I still put the warm beanie bag in my sheets at the bottom of my bed :~)


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  1. Darlene L Turner

    Love this post, Ruth. I have to admit though–I’m the opposite. I love winter! Well….until about the end of February! I love the freshness just after a snowfall. It’s bugs me when someone walks across my lawn and messes it up. ha ha! 🙂 Fun post.

    Happy Birthday Doug!!!

    • Ruth Waring

      In all fairness to the white ‘stuff’Dar, it IS beautiful, especially if it is a fresh snow like the one pictured on the cover of my sequel, Then Came a Hush. It really is peaceful and you almost want to whisper. So I suppose dressed warmly—with the right boots!—winter is toleable:)

  2. Heather

    I remember the cold winters of my youth spent in the Beach area of Toronto. One game we played at Balmy Beach Public School during recess was putting our tongues on the frosty cold wrought iron fence poles to see if they stuck. Ouch, well, I’m here to say they did! Definitely, not recommended. Happy Birthday to Doug. December is a special month for birthdays. 🙂

  3. Luella Smith

    Loved your post Ruth! Snow blizzards and freezing rain are not for me, but I do love the fresh snow from the 16th floor of my condo. No shoveling, just watching others do it:)
    Trust you had a Happy Birthday, Doug.

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