The Crocuses are Coming!

Today, it’s cold. The temperature has been in the low 20’s and the wind makes it feel like it’s 7 degrees. It’s at moments like this when I think, “Why would anyone want to live here?” Actually, I think that more about Buffalo. Those guys are certifiably nuts.

While I was trying to feel my toes, I placed a call to our friend and realtor, Judy S., who lives in Sullivan County, and encouraged Beth and me to move here.

“It’s only five more months until the crocuses come out in April,” Judy told me.

Early in the afternoon, I went to the Tractor Supply Store. After learning that they didn’t have what I was looking for (sand), I wandered into a rather large clothing section. It was full of big, bearded guys like me searching for gloves, hats and long underwear. I purchased thermal socks, a wool cap and a new pair of Thinsulate gloves.

Someone in Norway once said, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.” That person probably worked for Carhart.

Leaving the Tractor Supply Store (what a real man I am), I drove across the street in my pickup and found the sand I needed near the front entrance. Leaning down to pick up the two bags, I was shooed away by a man ten years my senior who said, “I’ll get that for you, fella.” He was half my size, fully gray and without a coat. Walking to the car he said, “It’s gonna get a whole lot worse. Enjoy this!”

Filling the Ford up with $100 of gas (there’s a price to being a real man), I came back home to help Beth with the laundry and then unpack the greens she picked up at the Farmer’s Market in Callicoon, NY. To both of our surprise, the market was still functioning outdoors in this weather. Evidently, there are some hearty people around here who do what they have to do to get it done, whatever “it” is. I salute them with my new Thinsualted hand.

Tomorrow, we leave at 6 am for Long Island. We have a day of songwriting in Freeport, NY and then concerts at a school in Baldwin, NY the following afternoon. I booked us a night at the Holiday Inn (we’re going upscale). After years of Comfort Inns, Quality Inns and Econo Lodges, we decided to try a slightly more expensive alternative. What big spenders we are forking over another $50!

Speaking of spending, did I mention that we bought tickets to go to Florida? At her urging, we’re going to leave chilly New York to visit our oldest daughter, Helen, in St. Petersburg over Christmas. Our last holiday show is on December 23, so we’ll drive to the airport from the gig and stay in sunny FLA for a week. We haven’t booked a place to stay, yet, but we’re looking at Airbnbs in the area. It’s a lot of money for us, but apparently, you can’t take it with you when you’re gone.

As I make these plans and others to see family over the holidays, I can’t help but be thankful. We’re warm inside our home and we’ve got clothes to protect us outdoors. We have lots of work on the books in November and December and the refrigerator is full of yummy, healthy food. Next week, we’ll see my mom and dad, my brother and some of my parents’ friends for Thanksgiving. I’m sure that we’ll laugh and toast one another and leave with full bellies and hearts.

Some of my friends will be “Thanksgiving Orphans” at someone’s table, but others will be alone for the holiday. Around the country, there will be people spending the day in prisons, hospitals and hospices. There will be people living on the streets and others in the military serving time away from those they love. Many will be mourning the loss of a loved one during their first holiday without that special person or animal. Members of divorced families just like the one I came from may experience tension and feelings of abandonment and think that they’re the only ones who aren’t happy.

To all of those people who are not looking forward to next week, I wish you love. May your difficult times be behind you someday soon and may you know comfort and connection in the not-too-distant future. Remember, the crocuses eventually come!

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