hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


February 7, 2013

Turn up the heat -- we don't live in a barn


He tells me the cold doesn’t bother him and that he’s got a warm heart. Even his home is a little on the nippy side. He keeps the thermostat at a chilly 65 and, if you feel the cold, grab a sweater. I don’t think it’s the rising cost of fuel that sways his thinking. He just enjoys being cool.

I had a mailman the same way. He made his rounds in the dead of winter with only a t-shirt. Watching him saunter from door to door in his flimsy apparel gave you the shivers. Maybe it was the constant movement that kept him warm. But it made the rest of us only colder.

What is it about those L Street Brownies that drives them into the ocean on New Year’s Day? They’ve been doing it for years, taking the plunge regardless of how frigid conditions may be. A quick dip in the summer is all I can tolerate. Given a choice, I prefer the comfort and warmth of a lake.

My grandmother was one of those who could never get warm, not even under a sun lamp. She’d be sitting in the car with an afghan over her knees, complaining about how cold it was. The fact it was mid-July and cars didn’t come equipped with air-conditioning back in the 1950s paid no concern.

Back then, you’d lower the window a notch to get ventilation and the more air you tried to get, the more she would complain. I can hear her now.

“Please put your window up. I’m freezing back here.”

I’d leave it open a crack or suffocate on my journey, only to hear her lament. “All the way up — tight!” Good thing she wasn’t in a convertible with the top down.

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