hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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February 7, 2013

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

B-r-r-r!

I just got the chill of a lifetime.

I saw my next-door neighbor in his shorts and t-shirt, spreading salt over his frozen driveway.

Had I not known any better, I would have assumed he was feeding chickens on his farm. The fact it was in the teens with a wind chill factor of zero made no difference to this living iceberg.

Nor the fact I was bundled up in a flannel shirt with a sweater, wearing corduroy pants and woolen socks. I looked like an Eskimo huddled over the kitchen stable — I mean table — enjoying my hot breakfast.

I say stable because as hard as I’ve tried, weatherproofing and all, I still get a draft from the windows that are supposed to be airtight. The heat’s cranked up to 70 and still I can’t get warm.

“I think there’s someone at the door,” I blurt out.

“You’re out of your mind,” comes the response. “That’s only the wind howling and rapping at our door. Leave the morning paper on the porch. Open the door and we’ll be thrown inside an igloo.”

People who claim that old-fashioned winters were harder to take probably heated with coal and wood stoves. That’s what we did back then. Long-johns were worn.

I live in a courtyard where neighbors are friends. The guy next door is another cold weather buff. But even on this day, I caught him outside in pants with a stocking cap over his ears.

Different strokes for different folks, I guess. You can tell a person’s true colors when it comes to the winter’s cold. I know another fellow who doesn’t own a long-sleeve shirt. He shows up everywhere in short sleeves: Church, dances, house parties and formals.

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