Winter Commando (Guest Post by Jenny Hill)

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I’m pleased to share this post written by my good friend and inspiration, Jenny Hill. She is a great writer, as well as a talented rug weaver.

Yesterday, for the first time in months, I did not wear long underwear.

Granted, I still wore flannel-lined pants.

I am an utter wimp in the cold, but I come by it honestly. I spent the first 20 years of my life in International Falls, MN (“Icebox of the Nation”). I tend towards low blood pressure that keeps my hands and feet cold year round.

I only wear mittens (because the digits on my hands get instantly numb in the separate wooly tunnels of gloves) and most of this winter, I’ve worn two pairs of mittens at the same time.

My husband has tirelessly endured a wacky parade of my winter headgear in the 25 years we’ve been together: blue fuzzy ear muffs, Mad Bomber hats when it was just me and Elmer Fudd wearing them, extra long snoods that start at my forehead and stop just above my hips. I give up all hope of a decent hairstyle between December and March and surrender to hat hair.

When I get into bed at night and put my feet up next to him (one of the best benefits of a 20-year marriage, am I right?), he’ll make some romantic declaration like “Yikes, you’re dead!”

But back to yesterday. I stood at my dresser that morning, observing I still had two clean pair of silk long john bottoms. With a quick glance over my shoulder (for whom? The Cold Weather Wardrobe Police?), I yanked out only the flannel lined pants and slammed the drawer closed before I could change my mind.

For the first hour, I had that odd sensation, like when you take ice skates off and suddenly your feet are like chatty toddlers who want to tell you everything about what’s happening. My kneecaps asked, “Is this a good idea?” My thighs said, “See? These pants still fit.” My ankles begged, “Is it too late to get a second pair of socks here?” My ankles are babies.

The day turned out as sunny as the weather people had predicted and 14 degrees (that’s above zero). About 10 a.m., still reveling in my free and easy lower half, I dashed outside to the newspaper box on the main street of Pine River. After I purchased the paper, I turned and an unfamiliar woman was walking towards me. Did I mention Pine River is a town of 900 souls? I love it here. After four years, I still marvel at the fact that I can make friendly eye contact with anyone on the street and be rewarded with a kind hello.

So I was rubbing my hands together, mentally, for this warm fuzzy, giving her my most welcoming smile.

She said, sans smile, “YOU need a jacket!”

Winter Commando turns out to be a lonely state.

Jenny Hill is the sole proprietor of Hill’s Variety, which you can learn more about at www.jenneferghill.wordpress.com.

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