There are many theories as to why I am always so cold. My family likes to speculate on why I am always dressed in multi-layers. Why does she always have a sweater on—even in July? I confess: today I have on three.
Some of the ideas are scientifically based, like, perhaps Mom has poor circulation? Others are definitely more fanciful. My husband, John, likes to maintain that my French ancestor’s blood never unthawed after they took up with Napoleon’s army and marched up to Russia. “Well, they obviously made it back,” I like to say. Here I am after all—my family’s bloodline continues.
But let me ask: could it just be that it is cold outside? Record cold temperatures have enveloped the Upper Delaware region for the past few weeks and more cold is predicted to come. When it gets this cold, the freezing weather is all people can talk about. Cars won’t start. Pipes freeze and burst. The power goes out. When it gets this cold, “Everything breaks,” my father used to say.
Perhaps my concepts of hot and cold are rooted in the fact that I grew up in a large, old and very cold farmhouse. I remember often feeling “chilled to the bone,” as we said. We wrapped up in blankets like refugees. The water often froze. It was a struggle to keep all the farm machinery running.
I remember the layers of blankets my mother would stack on me each night in the winter. On top she draped an old, long, raccoon coat. It was no doubt some cast-off from the ‘20s when raccoon coats were all the rage. I liked to stroke the coat’s multi-hued fur and shove my hands in its ripped and ruined pockets. In the mornings I got dressed under the covers.
In the winter, snow accumulated in little drifts under the upstairs windows inside the house. Until I was four years old, the house was heated solely by wood stoves. Then, my parents bought a furnace and began installing some insulation. I remember my intrigue with the rolls of fluffy, cotton-candy-like padding, speckled with glass fibers. However, firewood remained the primary heat source throughout my childhood, and I spent a lot of time in front of the Franklin stove in the living room, basking in its glorious heat.
Today, as I sit here at my computer writing this (in the cozy nook by the furnace vent), I am waiting for the propane truck to pull up to fill our tank. I called the company this morning just to make sure we are on the list for imminent delivery. That tank is getting low.
Meanwhile, the temperatures have climbed into the 30s. It almost feels like a balmy, spring day. Sunlight is pouring through the window. I may just rest in its warmth and bake the cold out of my bones. And, I may even take off a sweater.