Missouri Bootheel Family yearns for heat wave

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Editor's note: This Mark Bliss column was originally published Jan. 26, 2003.

We've been in a deep freeze this week.

It's been so cold that my kids haven't complained about wearing coats.

Our dog, Cassie, is the only member of our family who doesn't seem to mind. She likes running across the snowy, frozen ground. She's constantly barking to go outside. I realize she has her natural fur coat, but at this rate she'll be wanting to grow up to be a sled dog.

Our house isn't equipped with a doggie door so we have to open the front door for Cassie to escape to the frozen tundra of our front yard. That lets in an arctic blast of cold air time and time again.

Cassie goes out so often I'm thinking of installing a revolving door or one of those portable heaters they use on the sidelines at NFL games.

When the weather gets this cold, it's nothing to bark about unless you're the snow Sheltie. You don't want to listen to the weather forecast.

No one wants to know it's that cold. The wind chill factor simply adds to our complaints. When your fingers turn into ice cubes you know the wind chill is off the charts.

It's times like this that you think fondly about those sweltering July and August temperatures that you absolutely hate when you're stuck in that gripping heat.

But right now, it sounds pleasant. Stranded in a desert sounds good too.

Those thoughts might at least keep your brain from freezing during this winter's Big Chill.

Of course, kids don't mind freezing temperatures if they get off school and can sleep in under extra blankets.

Becca and Bailey are beginning to appreciate winter, all those snow and ice days that give them extra time to finish homework.

While Becca doesn't mind the days off, she's really not a winter person.

But Bailey likes the snow. She created her own tree last weekend before the really cold temperatures hit. She stuck a broken branch in a base of powdery snow in the driveway.

It was the kind of tree that Snoopy would love.

I later had to help her relocate the tree so Joni could pull the van into the driveway.

I hated to mess with such creativity, but it's hard to accept a driveway that you can't drive on -- especially when it leads to a garage.

The tree collapsed when the snow melted. But that was before our world was plunged into the deep freeze that only a penguin and Cassie could truly enjoy.

It's enough to make your teeth chatter. Even the homemade toothy grin cut out of foam board for Becca's how-to presentation last week on brushing teeth would be permanently frozen by this weather.

When a wash rag can double as a tongue, you know you've got a good prop. Now if only it had a heater, we'd all be smiling.

Most of us who live in Southeast Missouri demand mild winters. We actually don't like winter at all. If we did, we've live in Chicago or Canada. I lived in Chicago for one long winter. I remember digging my car out from under a huge mound of snow. That one winter was enough for me.

We don't want to live like Eskimos. We like to have some feeling in our feet. We don't want to go ice fishing or pal around with polar bears.

We expect winters with temperatures at least climbing into the mid- or upper 40s. Temperatures hovering around zero don't sit well with us.

With weather like this, we'll all be hitting the tanning beds just to warm up.

Mark Bliss is a staff writer for the Southeast Missourian.

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