Today marks the third day of the weather in Vegas being freezing cold. When I say “freezing cold”, it’s in the 40s to 60s, and everyone’s in six layers of long sleeves, and girls and women are all in their winter booties. I, for one, love this brisk, frozen fingers cold weather. I grew up with this “freeze” in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, and I miss it. That’s what I’m thankful for today. Cold weather.
I first saw “the white stuff” when I was six, and I freaked out for a minute or so, trying to figure out what the heck it was. I had only seen snow in pictures and videos. Coming from the Tropics of the Philippines, I didn’t know anything about Autumn or Winter. My first Autumn at age five sealed the deal for me. I loved everything about the season, except for the raking of leaves. Other than that, I loved the colors of the trees (trees don’t change colors in the Philippines), the fresh apple cider and apple butter and… well, every dish practically had apple in it. Apple pie, apple turnover, apple sauce, apple wine, apple glazed pork chops, candied apple, caramel apple…. It was my “Bubba Gump” moment when I was a kid; still is, actually. There was the family trip up to Mabry’s Mill, where I got to taste my first ever cornbread and real maple syrup and deer jerky. Remember, I was five when all this happened, and everything American was just pure magic for me.
Autumn introduced me to apple picking and cloggin’, or steppin’ or two-steppin’… so many names for the dance. For those who don’t know what it is, think of it as Irish dancing but with an American Southern country hitch to the step. Autumn became something of an obsession for me at a young age, and it brought about the cooler weather, which meant I got to put on more clothes than ever before and hide under thick covers in bed. Hot baths and showers became divine and heaven-sent. I could jump in leaf piles, as long as I raked them back afterwards. Autumn also meant the coming of Winter and hot chocolate and fires in the fireplace and not to mention, Christmas and my birthday.
However, Autumn has a very special place in my heart. It meant more trips from Virginia to DC to visit my godfather and his family, along with trips, including Thanksgiving, up to New Jersey to my great uncle’s house and visiting my aunts and uncles around Trenton, which all meant more food. Filipinos tend to get carried away with food during the colder months, and I miss that. The soups, the stews, the desserts…. Then, there’s the karaoke that follows the eating and the stories (even the repeated ones) and the laughter. I think that’s what I love about Autumn the most. Because of all the events that came with Autumn, I could hear every laugh of specific relatives.
Yes, I think that’s the true reason why I love the cold weather so much. Every memory I have from when I moved to the US that was in this brisk, painfully cold weather revolves around everyone being in close proximity of each other, talking, singing, watching TV, and… laughing. Lolo Tinoy had this chuckle that would tingle your tummy. Tita Eileen has this higher pitch giggle. Tito Bob has this “hu hu hu” that’s more like a muffled, throaty laugh. My Mama’s Betty Rubble laugh mixed with Tito Jesse’s blasting guffaw. The kids shrieking and squealing. Cold weather meant family huddled indoors.
Nowadays, cold weather means kids in the game room, the men watching football and barely talking, some of the women in the kitchen. Everyone has their place, and it feels weird. Alas, something I must adapt to. *shrugs* Still, the cold weather is finally here in Vegas, and I had my first cup of hot chocolate the other night. I get to hide under the comforters with Duke and Syren cuddled close and my husband… somewhere close by. *laughs*
I’m so thankful for the cold for Syren’s sake too. Her shedding decreases, and she’s livelier and more active. Duke, on the other hand, it hating this weather; just like his Daddy.
This “freezing” weather brings back a lot of fond memories, and for that, I’m grateful.