Tag Archives: cold

Normantown/Stumptown News: Late January

(Note: Only select installments of this weekly column are posted here on the blog. To have access to all installments, you’ll need to read The Glenville Democrat/Pathfinder in print or visit The Gilmer Free Press online.)

I was flying along on my way to work one morning last week when I passed a man walking along Route 33 near the entrance to Cedar Creek Road. He had a coat, hat, and gloves, but even so, the thermometer on my dashboard noted it was 26 degrees outside. I don’t leave my cat outside very long in those kinds of temperatures. I immediately turned around in the church parking lot, returned to him, and told him to get in the car.

Did I know him? No, but he also lived in the Stumptown area, past the county line on the Calhoun side. Though his car broke down, he had business in town and had to be there, so he started hoofing it. He started walking in Lockney, so he had walked that morning, in those temperatures, more than 10 miles. The moment he told me that, I realized how many other drivers had passed him by that day.

Two+ miles later, when I dropped him at GoMart, he reached out to shake my hand and thank me for the ride. His hands were still as cold as ice.

I’m not in the habit of picking up strange men along the road, though I’m prone to give rides to folks I know. But when I see someone walking in temperatures below freezing, miles from any destination, it doesn’t matter who it is, does it?  What excuse is valid enough to pass that person and not offer a warm ride? I was late? I was busy? I was in a hurry? Twenty-six degrees. If it was warmer outside, I would likely have kept on going. But below freezing temperatures? No. I’m not able to do that.

I’ve been that person. The one with the broken down car. Of course, I don’t walk when my car lets me down, I call my husband on my cell phone. If I walk anywhere, it’s only far enough to get a cell signal. But what if you don’t have a hero? What if you have no one to come to your rescue?

Community isn’t just the people we like or the people we know. That evening, when Frank and I sat down for dinner I said, “Before someone tells you they saw me with a man in my car, I gave some guy a ride to town this morning. It was 26 degrees.” Frank, who is prone to give roadside assistance, didn’t blink an eye. “Okay,” he said. I told him where the fellow lived, and Frank was familiar with his family. It’s a shame the guy didn’t encounter Frank that morning. Frank might have fixed his car.


      Kay Allen will be teaching a Rag Rug Craft Class February 8, at Normantown Historical Community Center. Further details are yet to be announced. Basketball is kicking up again on Tuesday nights at 6 p.m., and Zumba is Monday and Thursday. The Food Pantry is held on the 2nd Friday of each month, and the NHCC Clothes Closet is held Wednesdays, 11-2 p.m. I have a quilting frame I’ll be donating to the Center, as soon as they find someone to teach a quilting class. Do any quilters out there want to teach? And don’t forget: Donkey Basketball is coming on April 4.

Normantown’s Yolanda Goss (a recent transplant) has a free belly dancing class starting at Gilmer Public Library in February, on Tuesday evenings at 6 p.m. Sounds like fun to me! Speaking of the library–have you seen the library’s new web site at gilmerpublib.org? You don’t need to drive to town to make use of the library’s services. You can search the library’s catalog online, make use of the online databases and tutorials, even access free ebooks and audiobooks.  I see also that the Mini-Library on the front porch at Fred’s Store is just bursting with books. Help yourself to those!

We’ve survived January and now face February. Organizations like the library and the community center have great programs happening to help stay off those winter blues. So if you’re feeling a bit restless or down, venture out for belly dancing, crafting, or to volunteer. I know both organizations will gladly welcome you.

Does “Cool in a Crisis” Mean Cold?

I recently made a new friend in my life.

Which also means, there’s a new perspective in my life.

Thus, comes the question:

Does “cool in a crisis” mean “cold”?

I have always been proud of my ability to maintain control in public. Likewise, proud of my ability to quickly ‘assess and address’ in a crisis, without a total reaction of emotion.

Recently though, this seems to be counting against me.

Is it cold to begin cleaning the vomit out of your car while the passenger is still puking along the side of the road?

For me, it seems the practical thing. Don’t put it off, it needs done, and needs done now. Certainly don’t let it soak in — or worse yet, dry.

Is it cold to not stop at a car wreck when the folks seem obviously all right and have help from others?

Seems to me, us stopping would just further complicate the situation and the traffic.

Even so, when the new friend presented these experiences to my old friends, they replied, “That’s just Lisa. She’s snappish.”


I realize I’m blunt, but “snappish?”

There’s a difference.

Blunt is… well, blunt. Straight forward, to the point, simple.

Snappish is…. snippy, harsh, terse, hateful, mean.

I’m not mean, I’m just….



Clear and Cold with Chances of Snow

Yesterday, a storm passed through that laid out anywhere from a half to full inch of snow. Then the temperatures dropped – drastically.

I bought bird seed at the store, filled the bird feeder my father made years ago, and set it outside my office window. As of yet, I haven’t seen anyone come to dine.

The lake is almost all white with snow – I would say more slush than ice lies beneath. Only once have I seen the lake literally frozen over, and that was back when the Canadian Geese actually flew off for the winter.

Now, they stay all winter, and their nightime roosting and bathing and paddling keeps the ice from forming around their flock.

When we first returned to the farm, there was a goose whose wings were deformed. We, politically correct people that we are, called him “Crip.” Everywhere Crip went, he walked. He spent most of his time on the lake out back, and I fed him seasoned croutons.

In the fall, the other geese would begin their migration practice runs, and Crip would flap his wings, and try to take part in the take-off. He would move forward across the water, but never got any lift. As the others rose above the water and into the sky, he was left behind calling after them.

By the time snow fell, Crip was left alone, on the lake, to face winter by himself. He survived five winters that way.
The fifth season, in the night, the lake froze, all around him, leaving him paddling around in a watery section only about eight feet across. He was trapped in the watery section, unable to get up on the ice, which either broke under his weight, or simply set him sliding back into the water.

He could not reach food, and was too far out for any croutons to reach him. Frank and I took a long two by six, and some heavy rocks, and began breaking a path of ice to his puddle. When we were finished, I lined the path with croutons, and we returned to the house.

As we watched from the window, he followed the path to the edge, where he pulled and tugged at the ground for food, eating roots and whatever else he could find. The watery puddle in the lake, and the path, froze in his absense. For his safety, because he could not fly, he returned to the frozen lake in the afternoon, and slept upon the snow.

In the morning he was gone, and I searched the fields and the forest’s edge for him. For three days the lake remained frozen, and for three days, he was gone. Then, one afternoon, the watery puddle appeared again under a warm winter sun, and the next morning, Crip was there.

In his sixth winter, he left the frozen lake again for hiding. When the lake thawed, he never returned.

Of course, now that Crip is gone, the other geese never leave. They arrive each evening to spend the night, and after their morning bath and banter, to another local watering hole.

Preparing for Cold Camping

We are planning a trip to Audra State Park this weekend, to see the fall colors and take advantage of the last weekend the park is open before it closes for the season.

I’m drafting an article, “the seasons of Audra,” and we need some fall photos. Also, we have not yet tried out all the wonderful toys we got on Frank’s Coleman Factory Outlet shopping spree.

Although it looks like we will be spared any rain, there will be a drop in temperature.

To twenty-nine degrees on Friday night to be exact.

Of course our new sleeping bags are rated to keep us warm at 20 degrees, and with the cotton/flannel liners we got for them, combined with the tent heater and foot and hand warmers we now have, I suppose we should be able to keep from freezing to death.


Audra is a different character depending on what time of the year you visit her. In the spring, the high river roars and mornings and evenings are damp and cool. Driftwood, and thus firewood, is plentiful along the banks, coughed out of the valley’s throat when the spring thaw first rushed down the mountainside. In April, when Audra first opens, only the most dedicated tent campers, mostly dedicated kayakers, submit themselves to the frozen evenings and frost-covered mornings of spring. The sound of the roaring river is a calming, constant hum in the background.
In the summer, the river dwindles to a trickle, and people all over walk the banks to share swimming holes. Each campsite is filled within a few hours of a vacancy, and the river can barely be heard over the sounds of people and dogs and children enjoying the grounds. Daytime hikes along the trails or over the boulder and rock-laden river bed are the call of the day. Evening walks around the campground’s paved circle are the norm after dinner.

Fall at Audra is unpredictable. The river could be high, or low, and the fall colors could peak in early October, but may not choose to climax until late in the month – after the campground has closed for winter. Days call for a light-jacket, maybe, over a t-shirt, but nights… Nights creep in with a biting cold that permeates all but the feet feet around the campfire. In the morning, early risers could zip open the flap to find the tent, coffee pot, the forest floor blanketed in a thin white sheet of frost.

We venture this weekend to expose ourselves to the autumn elements of Audra, and hope to capture and experience the full nature of the season. We’ll see what she holds for us this year.