The Iceman Cometh
Of course, I’m referring to the epic ice storm that rained down on the Upper Delaware River region a few days ago, and not the Broadway play written by Eugene O’Neill in 1946. Yep, it’s that time of year again, when I’m tempted to whine incessantly about the weather. Not to worry, by now you’re aware that I’m back in therapy (you’re welcome!) and that said therapist has encouraged me to “embrace every situation—good, bad, or indifferent,” so here we are—no whining. Uh huh.
Look, we all knew that it was bound to happen. Up until last week, the weather had been positively balmy, and I’ve been skipping around town with a song in my heart, thrilled to not deal with frigid temps, snow that requires shoveling, or icy roads. OK, maybe I wasn’t “skipping,” but it does paint a picture. I know, I know, there are plenty of you out there who were overjoyed to see that winter had finally arrived, and those of you brave enough to face the bitter cold have been spotted ice fishing, skating and building snow people to your heart’s content. Personally, I’m not a fan of below-zero outdoor activities. One would think that my Cuban dog (Havanese literally means “Little Havana”) wouldn’t care for it either, but if it were up to her, she’d stay out all day chasing squirrels and rolling in whatever she could find under the fresh coating of snow. Still, the ice storm was (IMHO) a little much. With the thermometer dipping into frostbite territory, and the region basically shutting down for a day or three, I stayed home, made sure that faucets were dripping in the appropriate manner and took stock of my supplies, gathered in haste, lest Sullivan County run out of toilet paper and milk.
“Well, it looks like ‘King of the Ice’ will be right on schedule,” I murmured to Dharma, who was scratching at a frozen snow mound, ignoring my pleas to come in. Scheduled to take place in White Lake, NY on Sunday, February 17, the annual ice fishing competition, sponsored by the Sullivan County Conservation Club (like’ em on Facebook) attracts enthusiasts from near and far, seeking to take home prizes for biggest and best in multiple categories, including “Crappie, Perch, Pickerel, Trout and Walleye”—which up until now I thought was the name of a law firm in Monticello. Even though the club’s website (www.sullivancountyconservationclub.org) promises “details” of the upcoming icy extravaganza, I couldn’t find much beyond that and the start time of 6 a.m. Having been before, I already know that there will be food and drink aplenty in shanties dotting the landscape. Plus, there is sure to be more than enough ice-related activities to keep me amused, even though I don’t actually plan to drop a line in the frigid water. If memory serves, there are scads of divisions, including various age groups and best in show for men and women—although in this day and age, I’m not sure we’re supposed to differentiate. I guess I’ll see, when I put cleats on my boots and trudge out with other brave souls, leaving the dog (for once) at home.
Admittedly, I began to obsess once the iceman actually arrived, since the temperatures swiftly plummeted, and I began checking the weather app on my phone on a minute-to-minute basis, sure that I would freeze to death and be found days later, with my dog happily gnawing on my left foot. Once the mercury dipped to 18 degrees, then seven, then two, I whimpered a little and gasped when the power went out. “I guess this is it, girl,” I whispered to Dharma. Determined to capture my last dying breath for posterity, I layered up and braved the outdoors where a “wind chill” of minus 20 kept me on my not-yet-frostbitten toes, while I snapped away with my camera, seeking to make the best of it, “or die trying!,” I shouted into the wind. Obviously, the power surged back to life, thanks to the hard-working men and women who brave the elements on our behalf, and I lived to see another day. While I may have given Jack Frost the finger once or twice over the last week, I have to admit that it’s freakin’ gorgeous out there. There’s no denying that he knows how to decorate. Meanwhile, I’m gearing up for “Winterfest” next Saturday at the Roscoe Beer Co. (you know the drill: like ‘em on Facebook), because I had a blast last year and the dog did, too. As long as the mercury stays above zero, you won’t hear me complaining. Uh huh. The iceman might have cometh, but I’m not unhappy that he eventually wenteth away.