Winter has come early to Wisconsin, especially to the northwoods. “God’s country” or the “Garden of Eden,” as Dad calls it. I call it “God-forsaken” in the wintertime. When I called him during their first major snowstorm a week or so ago, he reported that the weather was “still and clear–still snowing and clear up to your ass.” On the other hand, if the weather in the southern part of the state is foul, and up north it’s sunny and mild, he tells me they “have an ordinance against” temperature extremes/snow/sleet/rain/hail/fog–take your pick. While he does get a little cabin fever by the end of winter (which didn’t come until May this year), he doesn’t seem to mind just hunkering down in front of the fire and reading the hours away with breaks to check the weather forecast on T.V. Nonetheless, a visit from one of us kids is always a welcome break from the tedium of being “Mama’s little helper.” Last winter I never even made it up there. After the big car accident on Christmas Day, at first I was just a tad leery about driving, period. Once I got my nerve back, the weather just never cooperated. I’d plan to drive up, Dad and I would both study the weather forecast and agree that it wasn’t a good idea due to extreme cold, predicted snowfall, bad roads, etc. I think in addition to the weather being really awful, he just didn’t want me on the road and vulnerable to the vagaries of other idiot drivers again so soon. So, we talked on the phone a lot–largely about the weather.
Watching the weather forecast on T.V. plays a huge role in Dad’s daily routine, and I must admit, I don’t like to go to bed at night without having watched the weather report on the news. And, yes, I know I can go on-line at any time and get an up-to-the-minute forecast. It’s just not the same. The weather people are our friends. Dad even has nicknames for them. The local news programs he watches are broadcast out of Green Bay, and the meteorologists (Dad would never call them that) are “Bright Eyes,” “El Greco,” and “Miss Goodbody.” Except, I believe that Miss Goodbody has moved on to another job and is no longer on the air. That was a sad day for Dad.
Oftentimes, my first awareness of bad weather in other parts of the country where family members live comes from Dad. He really does keep his finger on the weather pulse. “Jesus Christ, it was minus 12 in Denver yesterday! Whatever happened to global warming?” Or, “Christ Almighty, have they been flooded out yet down there in Johnny Reb country? God must be really pissed off at the Baptists.” Or, “Geehovies, it’s over a 100 degrees in Houston! Thank goodness, we got an ordinance against that up here in God’s country.”