Respecting the weather

Published 9:51 am Friday, January 24, 2014

Coming from a part of the country where it doesn’t get very cold, I had thought a time or two about the cold, and whether or not I’d survive.

Of course, that thought was in jest — this isn’t North Dakota, or anything, but it does manage to get colder here than it does in Mississippi.

One hope was that at least there would be snow. Growing up along the Mississippi river, it snowed maybe twice, and one of those times I was an infant and have no memory of it (but there are pictures, and judging by them, it looks like the snow was thoroughly enjoyed).

The other time it didn’t really stick, but my mom traveled north so that we could find some patches to play in.

Further north in the state when I went to college at Oxford, it snowed several times during my time there, and there was one time where it was a good 3-4 inches deep. School had just started back, and snow being somewhat unusual to the area, classes cancelled. So we took to the campus with whatever we could find to sled down the steepest hill near the dorms. An ironing board, a clothes basket and a broken down box were all employed — and I busted up my knee, though that was afterward. I slipped on the ice walking home, rather than hurt myself sledding on obvious unsafe items.

No one had real instruments for sledding, nor were these items one could simply purchase in Oxford, but one thing I noticed driving around in Franklin, was that people had sleds.

The snow here, which was described as weak by many, was probably the second most snow accumulation I have ever seen in my life. It looked fun, though I didn’t have the day off, so I never got around to playing in it. But I enjoyed the memories that were brought up while watching others play.

The cold hasn’t been so bad — since I’m mostly not forced to be out in it for a prolonged period of time. I can only recall one moment that was particularly miserable.

It was a football game back during late November, and the temperatures were in the low 20s, and it was windy. I had not dressed appropriately. I was out with only one layer above my T-shirt, a light hoodie, and the other items of protection were some old jeans and an older pair of tennis shoes. No gloves. No warm head-gear. No other specially lined item of clothing designed to keep the winter out.

This outfit had been perfectly fine for the coldest Mississippi had thrown at me, but Franklin had bested me. By the end of the night, I couldn’t use my hands to write down notes. I had to record the coach and other thoughts through the voice-capturing feature of my phone.

It was definitely a lesson learned to take the cold more seriously.

CAIN MADDEN is the managing editor of The Tidewater News. He can be reached at 562-3187 and at