Walkabout

Minus twenty two last morning.
No wind, praise be.
In my puffed up coat,
with Red Baron hat and goggles,
looking, perhaps, like the Michelin Man,
I get smiles and double takes.
Walking rapidly to get it over,
it is still thirty minutes in the sub zero.
But, there are things to see and hear
if you let them have their effect.
Two little ones trying to build a snowman.
They are frustrated, one berating the other-
we need a bigger ball than that!
I smilingly tell them it’s too cold, the snow is powder,
Go inside and warm up!
Then I pass a house from which comes loud voices-
a man and woman yelling and cursing each other-
I don’t give a…….
You’re an ass……
Further along, the Police have someone stopped,
and they are searching his car.
Around the bend, the joyful boisterous voices
of kids sliding down a big hill of pure snow, dumped by the town.
I look back.  I look back.
God, it’s cold.
Even my guaranteed Arctic mitts aren’t helping much,
and I imagine X-Rays of finger bones, glowing pale blue.
The sliding kids catch sight of me.
Hey Jimmy, look!  It’s the Scarecrow!
Hah. You funny.  I smile anyway.
I notice that the neighbor’s huge RV is finally gone.
Floating down to Florida they are.
Hah. Snowbirds.  Bah, humbug.
Now, I am looking forward to a hot hot bath.
Salts of Epsom.  Cuppa cuppa coffee.
I round the last corner, there’s my house.
A stranger is hitchhiking near my driveway.
He carries a wee dog, both looking half frozen.
Where are you going? (Fifteen minutes down the road)
I get the car out and take him.
He says nothing, just keeps sniffing his running nose.
The little dog keens a little, but also says nothing.
He shows me where, and I stop.
It must be the last leg of his trip.
I say bye and good luck.  He says nothing…..okay.
The storm has started, and I relish even more that hot hot bath.
Through the whiteouts, I am home.
But no, a stalled truck blocks the driveway.
I turn around and park in the Public Works Yard up the street.
Not far now.  Geez.  Almost snowblind.
I am taking those Arctic mitts back to the store.
Fifty bucks is fifty bucks, and yes I am a complainer.
Blessedly, I get inside, strip off the layers, sigh with relief.
Run that bath.
Something other than the cuppa coffee occurs to me.
Before taking the plunge, I bring with me
The last two Heinekens from the fridge.
Gosh, retirement is good today.

Next morning, I spy the Town about to tow my car.
I run out in my pajamas.  It doesn’t end well.

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