Saturday, April 12, 2008

Memo to Mother Nature: Please make up your mind!

Back in the early days of television, Buffalo Bob Smith opened every episode of a certain children's program with the words, “Hey, kids, what time is it?” and every kid in the peanut gallery answered, “It's Howdy Doody time!”

Every afternoon, I would sit transfixed as Howdy and Phineas T. Bluster and Princess Summerfallwinterspring and their friend Clarabelle the Clown flickered across our twelve-inch, black-and-white, Philco set. I also watched Miss Frances and her magic mirror on Ding-Dong School; and Burr Tilstrom, Fran Allison, and the whole gang on Kukla, Fran, and Ollie; and Beanie and Cecil, the Seasick Sea-Serpent; and Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney; and Pinky Lee; and Soupy Sales and his dogs, White Fang and Black Tooth; and even Jimmy Nelson and his dog, Farfel, who sang, “N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestle's makes the very best chocolate.” But I digress.

I dredge up these childhood memories only to mention that if Princess Summerfallwinterspring were alive and living in Georgia in 2008, Buffalo Bob would have to change her name to Princess Summerfallwinterspring,winterspring,winterspring,winterspring to describe accurately what's been happening around here. Mother Nature can't seem to make up her mind this year. We've had warm, balmy days in the 70's followed by plunges into the 30's, followed by temperatures in the 70's again, followed by blustery days with wind chill factors in the 20's. Yesterday's high temperature at Atlanta's airport was 82 and by tomorrow it's supposed to dive to around 30 again. Some of these wild swings in our weather have been accompanied by destructive tornadoes, fierce straight-line winds, and damaging hailstorms.

It's enough to rattle a person, but apparently it is par for the course. A man named Parnick Jennings who has owned funeral homes forever in Rome and Cartersville and who also hosts showings of old Bill Gaither Homecoming videotapes every Saturday night on one of our local cable channels (you haven't lived until you've experienced a television program hosted by a mortician) said recently “for all you newcomers” that Georgia often has three winters in one year. They even have been given names. He spoke of “blackberry winter,” “daffodil winter,” and “whip-poor-will winter.” We're all familiar with “Indian summer” in the autumn, but having special names for various winter cycles was a new concept to me. And kind of sweet. So as we brace for yet another bout of frigid air, please join us in praying that the cherry blossoms and dogwoods and azaleas will survive yet another blast from the Arctic's deepfreeze. And let us also give thanks, while we are at it, that the long drought appears at last to be coming to an end.


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  2. Yes, I'll pray that the tender plants will survive the cold weather and spring will soon be simply spring.