Friday, August 12, 2011

100 Percent Polar Bear

So a baby polar bear goes up to his mom and asks, “Mom, am I one hundred percent polar bear?” The mom replies why of course you are. I’m 100% polar bear and your dad is. That makes you 100% polar bear. The baby polar bear then goes to his dad - “Dad, am I one hundred percent polar bear?” The dad says sure - I’m 100% polar bear and so is your mom, and both our parents were polar bears. That makes you 100% polar bear. Why do you ask?
The baby polar bear looks at the dad and says, “Because I’m freezing my ass off.”
I share this somewhat cute and amusing joke to illustrate this basic fact. I was born and raised in northeast Ohio as were my parents and their parents. But I live in Florida. Have for virtually my entire adult life. And when asked why I moved from Ohio to Florida I share the baby polar bear story.
I am a Buckeye through and through. Not the Ohio State kind of Buckeye; I went to Kent State thank you very much, but the Ohioan kind of Buckeye. I know what’s knee-high by the fourth of July. I can pronounce Mantua and Cuyahoga (Man-away and Ky-YOG-ah for those keeping score). The top of a house is called a roof, rhyming with woof. I have experienced Lake Effect Snow. I love and am very proud of my roots, and try to get back there every chance I get to see family and friends. So why did I leave?
Because I was freezing my ass off.
My issue with Ohio weather isn’t that it gets cold. It’s not that it snows. It’s that it does both for an inordinate length of time. The winters are too damn long, and linger on stubbornly. Usually by mid-October is the first snowfall. By early November all the leaves are off the trees, and just to be sure none are remaining a nice sleet storm rolls through to polish off the rest of them. By Thanksgiving the thermometer has retreated south of 32 degrees. By early December a blanket of snow ushers in the hibernation period which lasts until late March. When April comes it can be either 65 or 25 degrees. You’re not out of the woods when the calendar turns to May either. The rule of thumb for gardeners is to not plant anything before May 15, lest frost kills your fledgling seedlings. Finally by June any remnants of winter are erased. You know this because the temperature goes from too cold to unbearably hot. They get that for three months and the cycle repeats.
There is really only one good month in Ohio weather-wise - September. The days are sunny with temperatures in the 70’s. But you know it won’t last, as the sun gets lower and lower on the horizon each day until…
Baby polar bear leaves.
Having lived in Florida for over 25 years now, I feel blessed that I actually have two homes. I am equally comfortable in either place - whether it’s the fickleness of Ohio weather or the surliness of Florida people. But the people don’t really bother me, thus I can deal with them. The weather, however, is another story entirely. I cannot control it. I can just choose to not be in it.
One day I will be a snowbird. I will retire back to my home in Port St. Lucie and, when that third week of May arrives and with it the Florida humid rainy season, I will load up the car and head to Ohio, since by then I am pretty sure the snow has finished for the year. And I will stay until late September which, again, by then I am pretty sure that the snow hasn’t started yet for the year. I will play golf, eat Szalay’s sweet corn, and listen to the fellow Ohioans bitch about hot it is. And I will laugh when they do.
Because baby polar bear is warm and happy.

No comments: