JIM ‘PAPPY’ MOORE: The Warm Days of East Texas Winters
By Jim “Pappy” Moore
With the end of February just around the corner, we in East Texas are fortunate to see another winter coming to a close. We have had a really, really cold spell, but we have also had those balmy days in the eighties in February. Those warm, sunny days sure take the bite out of Old Man Winter.
We have winters where it gets down below freezing for a spell, where we have some ice on the roads, and where the chill makes us get serious about warming our homes and our cars. But viewed against the weather north of us, we usually get off easy when it comes to winter.
If you’ve ever spent any time in northwestern Missouri during the winter, you will know in those environs it gets and stays cold. You only think it gets cold down here until you experience bone-chilling cold weather up north.
Temperatures in single digits or even below zero can bring farming to a stand-still. Those folks in that part of the world know what blisteringly cold winter is really like. Down here we know what a few days of sub-freezing weather are like.
Snow is beautiful, but living in an area beset by the fluffy white stuff is not really that much fun. Oh, it can be very attractive to look at, but try being in it – especially driving in it. Driving in snow is like driving in fog, but fog that sweeps up your windshield and into your face as you drive. You can go snow-blind in the glow of oncoming snow flurries.
I’ve lived a few winters in cold regions, and it is no fun. The driving is a real horror story, as ice covers roads in thick, crusted, packed slush or icy, impassable stretches. Without chains on tires or studs in tires, sliding off the road into a snow bank becomes a common hazard.
The bitter cold in northern regions makes using heaters all winter necessary. You come in from the freezing or sub-freezing cold into a house in which all the moisture has been baked out of the air. If the heater cuts off for moments, the cold outside quickly sends interior temperatures plummeting. Hot, baked, dry relentless inside air becomes the norm. Sometimes you have to stick your head out and breathe in some of that sub-freezing air just to give your poor nasal passages a respite from the oppressive indoor heat.
Up north, days on end of bitter cold make spending time outside a hazard to be avoided. If you have to get out to feed or water livestock, be ready to break thick ice covering the watering holes the stock need.
Give me a good old East Texas winter, with a fair share of balmy, sunny, spring-like days. Give me those clear, cool skies that remind us we are seldom very far from the fresh weather of autumn or spring. Join us next winter, snow birds. It’s nice down here much of the winter!
Copyright 2023, Jim “Pappy” Moore. All rights reserved.