An evening conversation: Hello darkness, my old friend

By Stephen Cameron

Perhaps we should start with a bit of historical perspective as we wait on the tow truck to come and drag away my car.

No, it’s not stuck in a snow bank.

Somehow, after surviving a blind, slippery drive home around midnight on Saturday, I parked on something that punctured a tire.

And my spare, which I’ve never actually seen, is flat.

So the gang from AAA is supposed to show up soon and haul the trusty old Buick off to Wal Mart—for some new shoes.

Meanwhile, like many of my fellow citizens, I’ve been sitting around and thinking about the start of winter.

But back to the history: I was born and raised in sunny California, and never saw a real, live snowflake until I was in seventh grade. And that was just one freaky Sunday morning – the only measurable snowfall in the town of Millbrae from the start of the 20th century to this very moment.

When I moved back to Kansas in February of 2010, I was coming from Merced, a city in California’s toasty San Joaquin Valley.

I’d been wearing shorts all year and had sworn an oath that I’d never scrape snow off a car again.


Ah, but there’s more history here: In truth, as a journalism gypsy with a few miles on my clock, I’ve lived in just about every kind of weather – and adapted to it far better than my upbringing might suggest.

How about three years in Scotland?

Yes, I managed to play golf year-round over there – though sometimes it required a wool hat pulled down over my ears and two pairs of gloves, creating the effect of holding a 9-iron with roughly the same touch as a soccer goalie.

And that was in June.

I’ve worked in Flagstaff TWICE – yes, moving back there even though the first snowfall I experienced in northern Arizona arrived in mid-November, and we got 23 inches between 2 and 6 a.m.

My final winter in Flag, the city racked up 163 inches of snow. You don’t have to be a meteorologist to guess that means swishing a ton of cold stuff off your car almost every day.

Perhaps several times a day.

But hey, I’ve also done four years in Charlotte, where the humidity is so suffocating that your clothes stick to your body for six or seven months without relief.

Years ago, my sister gave me a a pair of bookends inscribed with this message: “Bloom Where You’re Planted.”

And I’ve done pretty well.

To be totally honest, I came back to Kansas THIS time because of the weather. Well, partially.

Lovely though it may be in California, relentlessly so, I can truly say that I missed the change of seasons.

I know, I know: I’m making that statement with a Nova Scotia wind chill just outside the door.

I suppose I’ll need full-time sun eventually, and my lady Melissa will DEMAND it, but for now…

My theory is that people are nicer to each other in places with weather extremes.

I like that.

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