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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



     You don’t even need to say it. I can see it in the eyes of everyone I meet on the street. It’s that dead soul look in your eyes, the way your shoulders are hunched and your hands are buried so deep into your pockets you don’t mind using your forehead to open the door at the local grocery store. Yeah, folks, it is cold and we have all had enough. You can kind of tell people have given up trying to fight it by this point. Maybe it’s the number of miles you count as you drive to work every morning before your car heats up enough to start to defrost the windshield, or perhaps it’s the fact that the people at hardware stores greet you at the door and point sadly to the water pipe repair fittings without even being asked where they are when you walk in the door.

     It’s cold and it’s starting to get a bit frustrating to say the least. Oh sure, I’m a hardy Iowan and I’ve spent more than one night in my adult life sleeping on the floor of the kitchen with the stove door open, but like you I’m beginning to see the fruitlessness in this battle. Sure give me a couple feet of snow and then I understand the reason for the cold, but at this point the next smarty pants who wants to talk about global warming is probably going to get my well placed foot somewhere up their backside.

     It makes me wonder if we’ve become to dependent on that comfortable 72 degrees where we can sit inside our houses in the middle of winter in shorts. SHORTS! Really folks? I decided a month ago that I needed to look to the past to see if there was anything I could learn. So I started digging through old photographs and stories I’ve collected from the early part of the 1940s describing country life in Iowa to find some answers.

     I decided right off that I probably could skip over insulating my house with newspapers as I’ve lived that way already and have spent a great deal over the years putting real pink insulation in the walls of the old house. Plastic covering the windows inside and out seemed to be a good idea and I did the ones that no matter how new they are or how many times I try to caulk the seals still seem to leak a bit of air in through them. I also read about covering windows and doorways with heavy blankets. That seemed to me to be a good idea as there is always one room in the house that tends to stay warmer than the others, although it will look a little strange with my recliner and television in the kitchen.

     What made most sense to me was to dress in layers. That makes sense to me and since I’ve neither the need nor desire to shave any part of my body the natural coat of fur that I wear can’t be hurt if I decide to throw on a hooded sweatshirt or an extra pair of socks. Next one needs to think about sleeping more. If you are cold go to bed. I remember this well when I was growing up in a house that didn’t really have heat upstairs in the room I shared with my brothers. We found that sleeping in clothes and a sleeping bag under the covers of our bed allowed for extra heat and a comfortable night even if you ended up in the morning with stocking cap hair.

    SO now that we’ve stayed warm in the hours we spend not at work or in bed it brings me to the next thing I noticed. No one worried about bathing in the winter. Oh sure, there was probably a bath taken on a Saturday night after the water had been boiled on the stove, but really do we need to bathe every single day? I think that just leads one to getting all cold again, and seeing as how I’m now working on my second or third set of broken pipes in less than a month I’m beginning to wonder if there is a need for bathing at all. I see this saving of energy and resources as a plus, except for the fact that it tends to keep people away from you which kind of makes it hard to share body warmth with someone else, but I guess in a way it’s a lot less effort than actually trying to charm someone into spending and evening in your kitchen watching the television perched on top of the stove.

    Don’t worry, we’ll find the warm days at some point and we’ll tell our grandkids about how tough we were back in the day: and in the meantime we’ll all just shiver a big more and think about looking for a little piece of ground in someplace warm and sunny.

See you next week….remember, we’re all in this together.