The high temperature today in Illinois was MINUS one degree. This followed a night of sub-zero temps with wind gusts up to 35 mph. All night long, high winds roared across the frozen river outside my father’s house, tearing ice off the trees in the yard. Every so often the sound of ice shards spattering against the windows was accompanied by the CRACK of an ice-laden tree limb breaking off a tree, quickly followed by a BOOM as the limb fell on the roof or hit the side of the house.
I had planned to go to Bingo and Christmas shopping with my sisters today, but when I watched the weather report, I thought better of it and called Nancy to cancel.
“Don’t be such a wuss! It’s just a little bit of cold,” she challenged.
“I hate this weather,” I said. “I don’t need to end up sick.”
“You don’t get sick from the cold. You get sick from a bug.” I am aware of this. I used this argument many times as a child, when my parents insisted that I not go barefoot inside the house duing the winter, or that I wear a hat when I didn’t want to, etc. But the fact is that I DO end up with a sinus infection whenever I get cold, so I was sticking to my guns.
A few minutes later my other sister, Linda, phoned. “What time will you be here?”
“I’m not coming out in this ridiculous weather.”
“Oh, come on!” she said. She didn’t accuse me of being a wuss out loud but I could hear her thinking it, and I felt I needed to further plead my case. “Besides, the roads are still ice-covered and slippery.”
“Only the side roads, we’ll be on the highway most of the time.” The fact that I had to drive down several miles of remote, poorly maintained, country roads to reach the highway didn’t seem to register. I finally gave in and headed out, planning to take the long way around and avoid most of the bad roads. No sooner had I turned out of my Dad’s subdivision than I was stopped by a large truck with flashing lights.
“Ma’am, you’re going to have to turn around. All the electrical poles are down and lying across the road.” So much for avoiding the iciest stretches of road. I reversed direction and crawled along at 20 miles an hour until I finally reached the Interstate. Once I arrived at my sister’s house, she took over the driving. While that put me at ease with respect to driving, it did nothing to remedy the below zero temperatures. When we left the Bingo parlor a couple of hours later, the winds were so forceful that I could no longer feel my face after just a few seconds. I cannot remember the last time I was this cold.
I am back at Dad’s house now, trying to warm up my fingers, which are all but frostbitten from the drive back home. Frankly, I don’t care if I leave this house again until I start back for Florida. I detest Illinois in the winter. If that means I am a wuss, so be it.