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Today is June 25, 2019

Grin 'n' Bare It

Baby, it’s cold outside

Kay Grafe
Kay Grafe

The title of that old holiday song was very appropriate during this Christmas season. That is what “my man” told me every morning when he came back inside from taking Sugar Baby for her morning walk. And I had to agree with him that it was too cold for “this ole girl.”  

In fact, on Dec. 10 we experienced a rare phenomena for the southern part of south Mississippi. We received a a gift from heaven ... snow. Not just a tad, but a covering of 3 inches of beautiful puffy snow.

With Mr. Roy telling me each morning how cold it was, I knew that a lecture about his weather experiences was just around the corner. After almost 62 years of marriage, we know each other pretty well. Do believe that number? And just as I predicted, after a week of “Baby, It's Cold Outside,” he followed it up with, “But not as cold as it used to get when I was a kid.”

I debated whether to question that statement or just let it lie. But I knew at some point I was going to have to listen to his rationale. So I finally said, “How do you know that?”

“I remember back in the ‘40s the ground would freeze,” he said.

Then he proceeded to tell me a story about the winter of 1940 when the water line running from the meter to his house froze, and his dad dug several holes and built fires to thaw the pipe.

I said, “You thought it was colder back then.” I knew this would shut him up for a while, as he figured out how to prove he was right.

While he figured, my childhood came to mind. I remember how cold our house would get. We had only two heaters and my parents turned them off at bed time. Gas heaters were a big improvement over wood heaters and fireplaces, because with just the strike of a match you could have instant heat. So I was told.

During my school days, one of my parents would come into my bedroom every winter morning before I sprang from bed and light my gas heater. I can remember the first cool day in the fall, we high school girls would wear a new winter outfit to school ... and burn up later in the day. After all, it was September. Yet, back in the fifties September had cool days. Could this current era really be global warming? Could Al Gore be right? Nah.    

After spending several hours at his computer, my weather man asked for a conference to discuss his findings. We agreed on a time and place, and I also noticed he had a humble attitude. At the end of the work day my man got coffee for us, and he began his report on what the weather was like in 1940s.

He said, “I had assumed there was weather data that would verify my belief that when I was a young boy the winters were colder. But what I found out was that the 1940s actually experienced a warming cycle.

“I also discovered there is enough weather data to prove or disprove almost any opinion about the weather that you want to take. I believe that’s the reason so many people have varying views on global warming.

“Did you know that the world did not have a true summer in 1834? Farmers were unable to raise crops and there was a fear of famines. And did you know that the winter of 1978 was one of the coldest on record for the U.S. and that 1934 was one of the warmest years on record?”

I was nice and reacted, “Thank you Mr. Roy. I knew you would find an answer.”

Then he said, “Maybe the reason that winters felt colder when I was young was that heating in homes, businesses and schools is so much better today. But I bet if you surveyed your readers who are in our age bracket, they would agree that it sure seemed colder in the 40s and 50s.”     

A few minutes later I heard Perry Como’s voice coming from the Bose, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” I love that old song.

Kay Grafe is the author of “Oh My Gosh, Virginia.” To order, send name, address, phone number and $16.95, plus $3.50 S&H to Kay Grafe, 2142 Fig Farm Road, Lucedale, MS 39452.

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