Coping skills for the coming season
It’s October, folks, and this is my favorite time of year. I love the crisp mornings and mild afternoons. I appreciate the delicate fragrances of autumn ̶ the aroma of freshly harvested corn, the distant (very distant) smell of burning leaves, and the subtle scent of a freshly carved pumpkin.
Unfortunately, October means winter is closer each day and each day I start fretting a little more about the inevitable colder temperatures and the sinus headaches which follow. I dread the frozen precipitation which clogs our highways and makes travel treacherous. I fear the howling north winds which cause wind chill factors to plummet and whip a few inches of snow into two, four and even six foot drifts making travel impossible. Worst of all, I hate ice!
Can you guess? I detest Iowa’s winters.
Being decent folks who take such things as army worms and hailstorms in stride, many Iowans have developed ways of coping with winter. The most common of these coping mechanisms are little sayings which are intended to diminish the torment of winter. For those of us who hate winter beyond the point of coping, those deceitful adages can be as depressing as winter itself.
To cope with the “oh, it ain’t so bad” adages, I have developed non-coping responses. Fellow Iowans who detest winter as much as I do may borrow as needed. Be advised, however, that these responses may be offensive to some.
Coping statement: “Oh, but the snow is so beautiful!” Non-coping response: “Some people think giving birth is beautiful, too!”
Coping statement: “Without winter, I’d miss the changing of the seasons.” Non-coping response: “And without the flu you’d miss feeling lousy, right?”
Coping statement: “It isn’t so bad. Why, in ten weeks it will be spring again!” Non-coping response: “In less than ten weeks flesh eating bacteria could devour my right leg!”
Coping statement: “It wouldn’t seem like Christmas without snow.” Non-coping response: “And I suppose the shepherds made haste to Bethlehem on snowmobiles?”
Coping statement: “Iowa’s winters may be uncomfortable but you must remember the people in Arizona have to cope with 115 degree temperatures in the summer.” Non-coping response: “I’ll bet AAA does a booming business starting cars in the heat!”
Coping statement: “It looks like Jack Frost painted the countryside again.” Non-coping response: “Somebody ought to throw his frigid little fanny in jail for defacing public and private property!”
Coping statement: “Isn’t that red cardinal beautiful against the snowy background?” Non-coping response: “Not nearly as beautiful as a red-breasted robin pulling a big juicy brown worm out of the lush green grass!”
Coping statement: “You can always put on another sweater if it gets too cold.” Non-coping response: “I can always sit around in my underwear and drink iced tea if it gets too warm.”
Coping statement: “Come summer, you know, you’ll have to mow the grass every week.” Non-coping response: “I’ll plant Zoysia grass.”
Coping statement: “It’s so nice to curl up next to a fire and enjoy a good book with a cup of hot chocolate.” Non-coping response: “Not nearly as nice as enjoying a good book and a cold pop under a shade tree.”
Coping statement: “I’d much rather have snow than ice.” Non-coping response: “That’s kind of like choosing between hemorrhoids and shingles, isn’t it?”
Coping statement: “Those little children are so cute all bundled up in their snowsuits.” Non-coping response: “They’ll be really cute when their little noses fall off from frostbite!”
Coping statement: “It’s not so bad; just be glad you don’t live in Minnesota!” Non-coping response: “I’m glad I don’t live in Minnesota all year long; what’s your point?”
Iowa is indeed a beautiful state. The only thing I’d change is her winters and some of the irritating things Iowans say to make themselves feel better about being stuck in a frozen wasteland for a fourth of their lives.
No offense intended.