Thursday, December 18, 2008


by Denise Swanson

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.
--Charles D. Warner 1890

Isn’t it amazing that over 100 years later this quote is still true? Despite what the calendar says, in Illinois winter often arrives October 21st, not December 21st. This year we had snow before Halloween—not a good sign. And I’m always surprised that Illinoisans seem to forget how to drive on icy roads over the summer. It’s the Midwest. We get snow. Get used to it!

Now during our brief stint living in Maryland, I could forgive the fact that people panicked after receiving an inch of the white stuff, after all, they don’t get mounds and mounds of it every winter. Although I had to laugh the first time my supervisor called me out of a meeting and told me to go home because it had started snowing. I hurried out to the parking lot, expecting to see a foot or more, and instead found three flakes clinging to my windshield. But he was right. I saw several cars in the ditch as I drove home.

Which brings me to perspective. My husband and I try to take a cruise the end of January to celebrate our anniversary—it’s January 26th if anyone wants to send presents. ☺ Anyway, last year our ship departed out of Tampa. It was about 6 degrees when left Chicago, and in the high 60s when we reached Florida. The minute off the plane we gleefully donned our shorts and T-shirts, only to find the Floridians wearing parkas.

My dad was a farmer, as is a lot of my family still, so weather has always played a huge role in my life. I still remember going to church on Sundays and having my dad tell my mom and me to either a) pray for rain or b) pray for the rain to stop. As I recall, we never seemed to get the exact right amount.

When I married a chemical engineer, I though the minute-by-minute weather forecasts would be a thing of the past. But the joke was on me, he’s as fascinated by the climate conditions as my father was. In fact, I often catch him humming the theme of TWS (The Weather Station). Oh, well, since he is and engineer, maybe he will find a way to change it.