Thoughts on what we left behind, unmissed

Published 7:00 am Thursday, September 15, 2016

There are two things we once owned that aren’t sitting in a warehouse in Virginia, packed inside the crates with the rest of my family’s worldly possessions. They didn’t make the move with the threadbare teddy bears, the Girl Scout sashes and the mountains of shoes. And they won’t be missed. Not one little bit.

They are a pair of bright yellow, ergonomically designed, heavy-duty snow shovels.

Good riddance. I hope never to see its kind again.

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Winter isn’t just about cold, just like summer isn’t just about heat. Just add water, and you get added misery.

Perhaps you remember February 2010. I was in New Orleans, getting ready to board a cruise, during that Mardi Gras weekend, and it was cold. It was cold-for-Alaska cold, not just cold-for-New-Orleans cold; somewhere down in the teens.

But remember, it’s never just the cold. In the weeks before we left for our Caribbean vacation, it was plenty cold, but it was also wet. We shoveled 80 inches of snow off our driveway and sidewalk.

That’s right. Eighty inches. That’s more than six and a half feet of snow. The scraping of runways at Dulles International Airport created a mountain that lasted until early summer. School, always far later in Northern Virginia than in the states to the south, didn’t end that year until a week before the Fourth of July.

I was sitting out on our balcony the other night, here in Picayune, and felt a little breeze that seemed a slight bit cooler than the usual toasty gusts. It may have been just a degree or two, but it got me thinking.

In other places, perhaps, that could have been the first breath of fall. It would be time to swap the T-shirts in the drawer for sweaters and the flip-flops for sturdy shoes.

I’ve got those sweaters stored away, and the woolly socks. But not those blasted shovels. They’re in someone else’s garage now, and someone else will be digging out of misery measured in feet.

Me? I’ll be at the beach, making snowmen of sand.