I refuse to wear boots any more. I’ll take my chances on the ice that lies in waiting for me in every corner of our driveway. I’m sick of wearing gloves inside of mittens. You can’t buckle your seat belt, turn on the key or push up the heat with your fingers encased in wads of wool and leather.

I’m trying to remember what it was like to go for a walk without clompy boots, an aviator helmet, a scarf covering my face, a long down jacket over a turtleneck sweater and a fleece vest.

The wood pile is shrinking and we just filled the oil tank at an exorbitant price.

Huge chunks of ice form on the roof and thunder down to the just-shoveled deck; luckily the icicle daggers have missed me, so far.

My skin hurts. My bones ache. My hair won’t curl. My lips are chapped.

Why do I check the temperature every morning and then listen to forecasts? It’s not going to make any difference.

But, if I can hang on just a little while longer, I have my ace in the hole.


I used to think people who went south every year were whoosies. If you’re going to be a Vermonter, you’ve got to take the cold. It’s only a few really bad days anyway and it gives you something to talk about while standing in line at the grocery store.

That was before my brother bought a place in a high-rise on the beach and invited us down for a couple of weeks. That was before I knew what it was like to take the elevator to paradise. That was before I had strolled a few sandy feet to water’s edge, pina colada in one hand and sun block #55 in the other. That was before I realized that true happiness was living over a Hagen Daas store and French fries available in the building 24/7.

Our haven is not South Beach, full of skimpily clad, overly tanned sun worshippers. On our beach are people who don’t make you feel as glamorous as a stranded dolphin. Our beach has real people. Sure, most of those that do wear bikinis shouldn’t. Likewise for the guys in Speedos, or as my brother calls them for the chubby set, “Speed Don’ts.”

Our beach is a favorite spot for French Canadians and they are a hardy lot. They drag out their beach chairs, no matter what the weather. They are there as soon as the sun comes up and there into early evening. And they go in the water and swim no matter what the temperature. To be sure it’s most always gorgeous but there is the occasional windy or even rainy day. Our beach is never empty.

I love every thing about Vermont, but sometimes you just have to have a break.

By the time this column will be read, I’ll be home again, hopefully with a tan, and unhopefully with a few extra pounds.

It’s time to start another season. Did I hear someone say “black flies.”