Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Mary Alice Powell

Think positive as the season of snow and ice approaches

Even if we hate snow, ice, freezing temperatures, and other gifts Mother Nature delivers in winter, there are ways to appreciate the season.

Consider the following warming thoughts as we brace for the season many of us dislike to the extent that we escape to sunnier climes.

As a child I dreaded winter, even the year I received the black lacquered sled with chrome trim. I put up a good front when I saw it standing by the Christmas tree, more fearful of hurting mother's feelings than I was of facing the cold while using it on Skinner hill or the big hill on grandpa's pasture. Skinner hill was the winter gathering point in Adrian for children as soon as the snow was deep enough to guarantee a good glide down.

When my cousins found a six-seater toboggan under their tree, they were elated and of course we climbed aboard for the first chilling outing so we could dash down the hill, with snow flying in our faces, then climb back up, pulling the toboggan to do it all over again.

Ice skating on the open air Riverside Park pond was not as bone-chilling because the city of Adrian had the good sense to provide a shed and heater for skaters. I recall spending as much time by the fire re-tying my skate laces as I did doing any Sonja Henie twirls.

Recently I started a "that's a good thing about winter" list on the bus in Quebec after a first brush with snow on a tour to taste blueberry and raspberry blends. On the way to the bus at a fast pace, in a blinding snow, with Minnesota friends, we got the idea that hot blueberry wine might be a good winter comfort beverage. The winery is Domaine LeCageot. French is spoken in Quebec so we didn't understand much of the sales pitch, but that didn't mar the taste buds.

And here are some good things about winter.

The content of doggie bags left in the trunk of the car won't spoil.

We can leave the dog in the car and not get a ticket for mistreatment from heat exposure.

No more mowing the lawn. That job is over until spring.

Shoveling snow is a smaller area to tackle than is mowing a whole lawn.

Watering the lawn and gardens is a done deal. Wrap up the garden hose and put the watering cans away.

Some grilling enthusiasts don't let winter stop them, but for most of us it's time to get out the soup pot for some hearty eating. Who can say they weren't getting a little tired of potato salad and hot dogs?

Picnics may be shelved for a few months, but potlucks are common, especially at Thanksgiving when the host fixes the turkey, and the rest of the menu is built on carry-ins. Where to keep the cold foods cold? On the porch, where else? (Be sure to protect the food from curious animals.)

When wind is howling outdoors, it's the perfect time to light a fire in the fireplace and enjoy the glow and warmth while reading a good book or sipping eggnog. Yes, another eggnog season is here.

Mary Alice Powell is a retired Blade food editor.

Contact her at: mpowell@theblade.com.

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