BYNG — Will Rogers said, “If you don’t like Oklahoma weather, wait a minute.”  I’ve lived in Oklahoma for a long time, and I’ve discovered that sometimes if you don’t like Oklahoma weather, if you’ll wait about four days, it will make a complete change.

Take winter for example.  We had about four days of winter early in December. I distinctly remember its being cold with a little ice.  The severity lasted only a couple of days, but throw in one day of getting ready for the cold spell and a fourth day of recuperating and getting ready for more autumnal weather, and you have the four-day winter for December.

The rest of December and all of January have provided wonderful weather, too dry, of course.  We need moisture desperately, but temperature-wise it has been the kind of weather people go to Florida or South Texas to experience. 

Having skipped a month, it’s time again for winter in February.  It began on Friday with falling temperatures and high winds, but it was not so bad one couldn’t get out.  A goodly crowd came to Retired Teachers, for example, to hear an outstanding program on Oklahoma poetry by Dr. Alvin Turner.

The next day, Saturday, our area was covered with a thin glaze of ice, sleet or some such thing.  Traffic was sparse on the road out front, and it moved slowly.  By common consent everyone stayed inside.  The Milligans got out of the house only to bring in firewood for our heating stove.   The weather  was cold, but not too bad.  We put on our insulated coveralls, stocking caps and heavy gloves and loaded our little cart with fire wood from the pile outside our fenced back yard.   Actually, George did the hardest work.  He loaded the cart and brought it to the glassed-in deck at the back of our house.  He had removed a window first and threw the wood in on the floor of the deck.  I retrieved the wood and placed it on the rack near the south wall where it is readily accessible to be brought in for the stove.

Our downstairs has been as cozy as only a wood stove can make it.  The gas furnace has been blessedly silent because the thermostat is on 60 degrees F., and our living area is more like 80 degrees F.  

Saturday was the kind of day for cooking a pot of venison chili which went well on corn tortillas (with green onions and  shredded cheese added).  A pot of chili is a double blessing, for it smells as good as it tastes and there is lots of it left for the next day or I can freeze it and have it two or three times the next time we have winter.   Saturday was a day for reading, talking on the telephone, and catching up on paper work I’d been neglecting.  Late in the afternoon, we learned that our church, like most other churches in the county, would not be having services the following day.  Since  we usually have a fellowship dinner on the third Sunday, I did not have to  worry about what to cook for potluck.

Sunday morning, I woke around five as usual, but remembered “No church today and no walking either.”  I have a steadfast rule.  If the temperature is 20 or below, or if the wind chill factor is in the teens, I don’t walk.  I have plenty of exercise equipment; I can walk on the ski machine, lift weights, use  my exercise ball, bike, or rebounder.  Sometimes I do these noble things when it is too cold to go to the track, but today, in celebration of the second day of winter, I simply slept until 8 a.m.

We ate a big breakfast of pork sausage and eggs scrambled with green onions and cheese (I seem to be on an onion and cheese kick.)  and felt as if I deserved a merit badge for resisting biscuits and cinnamon rolls.   I spent some time on Bible study, then started looking for a church service on TV.  I took in part of Jesse DuPlantis’ message but decided to wait for George to join me.  We heard Adrianne Rogers for the first time.  I’ve heard lots about him, but when I can have real live church three times a week, I don’t do much TV worship.  I really enjoyed Rogers.   He was polished, sincere, and well organized.  I still prefer the in-person kind of worship and the fellowshipping with my friends and church family, but the Rogers’ service  certainly was good for the second or third day of winter.

We will probably spend most of the day inside.  One of us will eventually go out and get the Sunday paper out of the box.  Tomorrow will be the waning day of the February winter, and by Tuesday  the temperature will probably be well above freezing and our four-day winter  will be forgotten until we have a repeat in March.

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If one has to be recuperating from a surgical procedure, this is a good weekend for it.  David Jackson had back surgery on Wednesday in OKC and, much to his and Jodi’s surprise, was allowed to come home on Thursday.  He was not feeling perky yesterday, running a little fever, but the doctors had warned them to expect  an elevated temperature. By the time our February winter is over, he probably will feel like being more active, though he’s been warned not to engage in strenuous activity.

Wes Eidson doesn’t feel well right now, but he is home and expects to be feeling much better soon.  For the past several months he has suffered extreme back pain which doctors finally determined was caused from kidney stones.  They installed a stint to give the stone a paved exit, but despite  zappings with a stone zapper on two separate occasions, the stones refused to give up their habitat.  Finally, on Friday he had a surgical procedure which finally did the trick.   He came home Saturday and he is perfectly happy to take it easy on this second day of February winter.

Pat Henley is still recuperating from knee replacement surgery.   She complains of lack of energy but says she is not having so much knee pain now.  She is starting a weight lifting procedure guaranteed to build up leg strength.  I had planned to lend her one, three, and five pound weights, but when I asked how building up upper body strength was going to help, she said she was supposed to have the kind of weights that could be attached to her ankle.  I withdrew my  offer.  My weights, like their owner, are only dumbbells.

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Ruth Ann Taylor issues a last reminder.  Please give her your recipes and stories connected with them for inclusion in the PAST cookbook.  If you have a recipe that is terrific but there is no story , pass it on anyway.    She needs these recipes by  March 1.   I’ve  tried to lend a little editorial help, and I am really impressed with what I’ve read so far.  This is a terrific recipe  book.  Ann Klepper is doing the computer work, organizing the material by decades, and it is most interesting.   Phone Ruth Ann at (580) 436-1116.

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