Brrr is the word all right – there seems to be no happy medium with this weather, but we could have the dastardly conditions plaguing so much of the U.S., so I’m grateful we are spared thus far. I’m not enthused about any snowy scenarios. I donned my heavy storm coat to stave off the wind which tunnels through the vast empty spaces of the soccer field as I am looping around the one portion of the Park perimeter. What happened to that mild weather from a mere 48 hours ago? I thought our Indian Summer had finally arrived, albeit late, … so, balmy temps … what was your hurry to leave?
Before I suited up, I readied the critter treats to tote with me. I packed up extra peanuts and crumbled eight pieces of bread into bite-sized pieces. I suited up, eager to hit the road. I walked along with my head hunched down and my gloved hands thrust into my coat’s cargo pockets where they shared space with the Ziploc bag of peanuts. A Meijer plastic bag hung off the crook of my arm, swinging against my hip each time I took a step. As I walked, hands deep in my pockets, I felt something round and fingered it through the lining. I kept twirling it ‘round and ‘round and figured it was a long-lost tube of lipstick. Curiosity got the better of me and I opened my coat and accessed the “secret compartment” where I retrieved the treasure. Well … ho-hum, it was just a tube of regular ChapStick. Who knows how long it was in that secret pocket? I uncapped it and that same old waxy smell that’s been around for years and years assailed my nostrils. Some smells never seem to change – ChapStick and those Vicks Inhalers, which turned you inside out if you inhaled too deeply. Did your mom ever put some Vicks VapoRub under your nose, or worse – smear it all over your chest, if you had a bad cold? The metholatum fumes were worse than the actual cold. But wait … there was something else languishing in the corner of the pocket. It felt like a key and I pulled it out and it was a shiny, silver-colored small key. What does it unlock? I’m not missing any keys at home, so it must have been from work … well, the key shall remain one of life’s mysteries, I guess.
As I walked along the pathway and neared the spot where I usually see my peanut pal, I was scanning the landscape up ahead for him. He must have seen my pom-pommed hat bopping along or perhaps he heard my lanyard jingling under my coat which interrupted his squirrel dreams, thus rousting him from his nest. He soon scrambled at the speed of sound down the tree. Like a cowboy, slowly moving his firing hand over to his gun holster to draw his gun out, I slid my gloved hand back into the huge cargo pocket of my coat to grab my Ziploc bag of peanuts. He came bounding over with his usual, predictable Pavlovian response – the begging on his haunches, a little eye contact, then down on all fours and venturing closer to my feet. While I think he is cute, I am still mindful that this is a wild animal and who knows if it is healthy or not and thus I take no chances on sudden movements which might scare him and he’d turn on me. I scattered some peanuts on the path and he happily scurried to eat them. I moved along, head down to thwart the wind which tried its best to attack that gap of bare skin between my chin and where my turtleneck ends. It is just the beginning of a week in the deep freeze and I came home feeling quite like a gigantic popsicle.