Winter weather is always a big concern, usually more so in the northern states but this weekend even Tampa, Florida is concerned, since they are hosting Super Bowl LV. As I write this column it is still early however, the extended forecast shows a 40 percent chance of rain, with breezy winds and temperatures in the 60s. There appears to be a cold front coming through the region and meteorologists are not sure how it will affect the area around Raymond James Stadium.
There are two scenarios; first the cold front passes north of Tampa keeping the temperatures in the 60s at kickoff time and perhaps occasional showers and winds around 10 to 15 mph. The second possibility would be a drop in temperature, winds of 20 to 25 mph and a larger chance of rain. Either way, kickoff is Sunday at 6:30 p.m. between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tampa. Besides, is wet, windy and 50 degree weather really that challenging for football players? I mean don’t they play in all kinds of weather?
We Ohioans know that winter requires preparation and we also know that no matter how cold it gets it always warms up…eventually. I always find it amusing that just the thought of winter weather sends the fainthearted packing for the south months in advance. Weather which includes snow, cold, and ice, is far too scary for snowbirds. But for the rest of us who decide to “bloom where we are planted,” we can handle it. We’re tough. After all this isn’t our first rodeo!
For many people winter is a truly beautiful time of year. For those who walk or run, like those who are taking the Frozen Feet Challenge, they walk at least 1 mile outside daily. They, like me, enjoy the winter walks, the crisp air, the beautiful scenery and the exhilaration of outdoor exercise. Walking the Prairie Reserve is a beautiful route, although some bike paths are nice too. One walker saw a pair of cardinals, a snowy owl, and a red hawk. Another walker said they enjoyed the serenity of walking in the quiet of the snow. “It recharges my soul!” I feel the same, especially when there is a light snow falling it is absolutely beautiful. Still another walker joined with a friend and logged their miles with many, many snowball fights along the way. Thanks to my running friends who alerted me to the Frozen Feet Challenge and continued encouragement to all you are walking or running outside. For those who want to walk but not outdoors, especially since the temperature is likely to dip into the single digits; the YMCA has a track, also the Versailles Board of Education (old school) allows you to walk in their gym, some people walk in Wal-Mart (without buying anything!) and the Piqua Mall has lots of walkers too.
I like all the seasons, but if winter becomes a challenge I remind myself that with adversity comes growth, strength, opportunity, and blessings. For instance, winter is a time when we can really take inventory of our many taken for granted blessings. We should find ourselves thankful for our heated homes, indoor plumbing, and the snow crews that maintain our roads and streets making safe winter travel possible. Included are electric companies and towns that restore power quickly should we lose electricity, and our mail carriers. We should be appreciative of our friends, relatives and family that check in, clean our driveways and shovel our steps. Consider being grateful for the clothing filled closet which provides us with the ability to layer; necessities such as woolen socks, warm, waterproof boots with sufficient traction, gloves, ear muffs, head gear, scarf and/or gaiter, and a winter coat that is functional before fashionable, although we try to accomplish both.
Occasionally we are isolated during the season, but with COVID-19 and state mandates we have all become accustomed to time to ourselves. If you get lonely you can still communicate with others, even if you cannot leave your home, via landlines, cellular phones, the internet, and it’s mediums such as Facebook and Zoom, etc. You never have to lose touch with world because you can use those same devices to stream movies and books. The world is truly at your fingertips today. If you find yourself admitting you don’t know how to use the computer or how to rent a digital book from the library, then you need to take some of your solitude time for learning.
To make our homes safe and welcoming for the mail carrier and visitors keep handy a snow shovel, ice melt, and waterproof floor mats. You might also stock up on emergency supplies in the event of a long-term power outage. This would include food that doesn’t require heating or refrigeration, such as canned meats, soups, cereal, and energy bars. Keep handy a manual can opener, disposable plates, cups and utensils, plenty of bottled water, blankets, warm clothing, flashlight and batteries, a battery operated clock radio, a kerosene lantern and heater. Don’t forget to have your prescription medicines filled and food and water for house pets too.
When you need to travel in the winter it’s important to remember road conditions can change quickly depending on snowfall and freezing temperatures. Before traveling it is wise to give your car a winter preparedness exam: Check antifreeze, Check and replace older batteries, keep the gas tank near full to avoid freezing water in the fuel line, check tires and the spare tire for proper inflation and adequate tread. Keep in the vehicle a bag of sand, road salt or non-clumping kitty litter, a small shovel, a flash light, jumper cables, blankets, an ice scraper/snow brush, a blanket, a first aid kit and consider an emergency backpack (in case you have to abandon your car) with the following items within: a hat and gloves, nonperishable food, bottled water, a cellular phone and charger, and money.
Dress appropriately and rely upon your experienced winter wisdom; such as taking cautious steps when walking, keeping your hands out of your pockets (so you can balance or catch yourself if necessary) and using handrails when available. And above all, enjoy your winter; it is part of your life experience!
“During the coldest winter I learned that the summer is within myself.” ~Unknown
“People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.” ~Anton Chekhov
“The pine stays green in winter…like wisdom in hardship.” ~Norman Douglas
Friday, Feb. 12 the OSU Darke County Extension office is offering a free informational class – “Electronic Pressure Cooking Basics – Insta Pot,” via Zoom class from 12 to 1 p.m. You may register online: go.osu.edu/darkelunchandlearn or call Dr. Roseanne Scammahorn at 937-548-5215.
Mark your calendar for Sunday, Feb. 14 to enjoy Fried Chicken by the Versailles American Legion held at the Vets Club beginning at 4 p.m. Call-ins can be made to 937-526-5959 and there is a drive up line on the Wood Street side. Call in or pull up and place your order. Drive up orders will be delivered to your car. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Happy birthday to Alyssa Minter, Jackie Kremer, Katelyn Platfoot, Mary Miller, Jean Shimp, Tricia Ingle, Jean Grieshop, Vicki Ahlers, Ann Eiting, Karen Raterman, Tyler DeMange, Betty Poeppelman, Tom Francis, Ted Detrick, Deb Godwin, Holly Keiser, Kathy Subler, Kim Hayes, Shawn Kemper, Elizabeth Hinkle, Diane Paulus Heeter, Renee Browder, Susan Meyer, Dakota Overholser, Christie Boyd, Chris Darner, Mike Droesch, Jeff Stammen, Tom Grilliot, Mary Bruning, Gloria Batty, Jill Swallow, Beth Schultz, Nancy Taylor, Samantha Porter, Vicki Monnin, and Tom Schrader. Anniversary wishes to Tia and Andy Gehret (11), Candis and Jeff Schwartz (22), Arlene and Bob Luttmer (33), Jana and Doug Reed (38), Angie and Ken Phlipot (43), and Linda and Rob Kendig (49).
Please give your supportive and healing prayers for our nation and the many friends, neighbors, and relatives who are dealing with any of life’s countless challenges. Pray too for those who are living their new normal, recuperating, or under medical care. Prayer benefits both those prayed for and those who pray.
Heartfelt sympathy is extended to the family and friends of Wilber Petitjean (78) and Urban Meyer (92) who recently passed on, and all who are in our hearts but not mentioned by name as the anniversary of their passing nears.