Every year, at about this time, my mind and body shift into a different ‘gear’, seemingly. Somehow, my attitude goes from acceptance of winter, of being diligent in my snow blowing, walk shoveling, ‘shelter in place and wait it out’ situation here in Central Vermont, to something different. I suddenly don’t care so much about doing that great a job removing the snow, and just tolerate the buildup on the driveway. I begin feeling a real yearning for green grass and flowers; I want to tinker on the antique car, wash my bicycle, and even clean up the not so antique lawn mower.
I don’t know if this feeling happens to you, but it invariably does to me, beginning right about the first part of March, which is where we happen to find ourselves right now. The wish for spring is usually a gradual thing for me, but tends to ‘snowball’, (very poor choice of metaphors) later. As an example, a few years ago our daughter bought me a small hydroponic plant growing thingamajig, for Christmas. As I write today, that ‘thingamajig’ is on the corner of my desk, with three, foot-tall cherry tomato plants sprouting from it. (I guess I got started a bit early on that part of the spring obsession this year.)
Then there are the other recent signs that I may be somewhat obsessive and on the verge of attempting an escape from this Vermont winter. One is that you can often find me, if I’m shopping with my wife, loitering, I was going to say skulking, but that sounded too sinister, around the store’s seasonal aisles, checking out those wonderful summer things, like grills and grilling-related gadgets, lawn care stuff, and of course, veggie seeds and the small implements of destruction people like me use to try to make them grow, at least until we can get them shoved into a garden patch outside.
Also, few nights ago our daughter Faith and her husband Aaron were planning to join us for dinner at out home. My barbecue grill lives in the corner of our front porch, and I like to fire it up once a week or so, even in the winter. (Maybe this is an unintended rebellion against the snow piled up just feet from the cooker. I have never thought of that before, but it’s a possibility.) In any case, my grill doesn’t seem to care if it is eighty or eight degrees outside. It works great in winter, and I like using it. So, I told Faith and Aaron that I’d get it going and grill some big steaks for the occasion, which I did.
Now comes the somewhat obsessive part of that story. In planning the dinner, I decided to make it a sort of indoor picnic. I made a big potato salad, (who makes those in winter?) I also put together a tossed salad. I bought rolls, potato chips, and pickles for the occasion.
Eventually I added our wicker picnic basket as a table centerpiece, (kinda strange) complete with a bottle of champagne and glasses, with a big bag of potato chips and a bunch of grapes peering out from the basket. A cheap red plastic tablecloth soon ‘adorned’ the table, just to make me look like a complete fool. By the time I was done all that was missing for the picnic was some ants. The dinner was very enjoyable. The steaks were great. My daughter and her husband are probably still wondering about my sanity today.
Last night I had another urge to do something ‘spring-like’ and drove to a local store amid a big snowstorm. Our six-year-old granddaughter Nahla was coming for a visit today, and I wanted to be ready. I entered the store, covered with snow, and just picked out some vegetable seeds and seed starter trays so we could do some planting when she arrived. (You should have seen the look on the face of the lady at the checkout. Oh well.)