I lived in several states. I grew up and lived in Wisconsin, and for my first teaching and coaching position, I moved to Wyoming where I lived for three years. There is a rugged beauty to that state. I lived in what are called the Nebraska Sand Hills on the east-central part of the state. Wind was constant and cold was numbing.
Being a rookie (or an idiot) when it comes to propane, I woke up one night seeing my breath and freezing. The propane tank was empty. Talk about bone chilling. A family who looked after me while I lived out there took me to their house, where I called the propane company, and they came out and filled my tank. Nice of the family to do that, but they did that sort of thing all the time for me. I am so thankful to them, and for them to have taken me in, so to speak. And, I learned my lesson.
After Wyoming, I lived in Omaha, Nebraska for two years, where I assisted as a coach for the university and earned my master's degree in counseling. Then back to Wisconsin for six years.
In 1987, I moved to California where even in the middle of winter, I didn’t have to wear sixteen layers of clothes to keep warm. It seldom rained (my second least favorite thing on the earth, though my wife might put bugs right up there ahead of rain), and the weather was almost always sunny, and we loved it there. That’s where I met Kim (also from Wisconsin, but we had to travel to the west coast to find each other), and where we started or family.
Then we moved back to Wisconsin to be closer to family. Ten years. And it was cold. Again.
I found that when you grow up in cold weather, you don’t think much of it. You get used to it. Throw on a sweater, a jacket, a hat, some boots and some mittens, and you’re pretty much good to go. But leave the cold climate and live in a warm climate, and then move back, it is a rude and unwelcomed awakening. So much so, in 2008, Kim and I moved to Virginia, where we still get some weather, but by and large, it’s comfortable year-round.
I thought of my experience with cold weather and warm weather, and thought of those poor folks in Texas and other southern states who aren’t used to the cold and who can’t jet away to Cancun to escape it. Folks without water, without electricity, without quite a bit that I . . . we . . . take for granted.
Parents not having enough food or water or heat. And when it thaws, and it will thaw, whatever was frozen becomes unfrozen. Pipes burst. Walls and ceilings and floors are ruined. Houses trashed along with some lives. Some lives lost.
It makes me . . . hopefully, us . . . appreciate what we have. The little inconveniences in my life are nothing compared to what these poor folks in Texas and other southern states are going through. I’ve never had to boil water in my lifetime. I had only one experience when cold took my comfort away, and that was short-lived. My life returned to normal only after a few hours, whereas these poor folks’ lives return to normal will take days, weeks, or possibly longer.
Tragedy, and I would classify the events of this past week or so as exactly that, knows no religion. Tragedy knows no political party. Tragedy doesn’t care if you are wealthy or poor. Tragedy doesn’t respect differences in gender, in sexual preference, in age. Tragedy touches what it wants, when it wants, where it wants without concern for boundary or what side of the tracks one lives.
I write this at the kitchen table in a fairly comfortable chair, with the heat on, the TV playing in the background, and after I ate my breakfast and took a shower and cleaned myself up for the day. There are folks out there right now, living right now, who don’t have these basic necessities. Parents who are worried about their children. Kids who are worried about their parents. So much pain. So much worry. Something to think about . . .
Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!
To My Readers:
You can find it at: https://jrlewisauthor.blog/
Some recent posts include:
- Parts of a Story – the Middle
- Betrayed – What is it about? And What were my thoughts writing it?
- Parts of a Story – the Beginning
- Why I Write, and Why I Read
- A Snippet from Spiral Into Darkness
- The Book Description and Book Trailer for Caught in a Web
- The Importance and Use of Setting
- Meet Brian, One of My Characters!
- Meet George, One of My Characters!
Photo courtesy of Robert Zunikoff and Unsplash