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Fifty Sense: Common Sense Ideas for Thriving after 50
Fifty Sense: Common Sense Ideas for Thriving after 50

The Final Word:
Cold weather and cozy fires, both gone in a snap

by Craig Wilson
Reproduced from USA Today
by Permission

We had the last fire of the season the other night. It was one of those cool spring evenings when the temperature dips into the 30s for the last time.

It's always a bittersweet time for me. The wood stacked next to the fireplace is reduced to a log or two. The kindling that fills a copper pail all winter dwindles to a few sad twigs. We're left with nothing but a pile of dying embers and warm memories.

It's spring. The warmth from the fireplace will soon be replaced by the oppressive heat of summer. Shoot me now.

I'm a cold-weather person. I sleep better, breathe better, function better when it's cold. Or at least cool. And my dog, Maggie, agrees with me. I can tell by her prance on cool spring mornings.

So there. Leave us alone.

There have even been studies that prove people who live in cold climates are healthier, more alert, live longer, age slower and have more hair than those closer to the equator. I made up the last part, but it could easily be true. Just not in my case.

I could never live where the seasons never change. I have a hard enough time remembering what month of the year it is now, and I live where leaves fall off trees in autumn. I can't imagine living where it remained the same all year around. Summer in first gear. Or worse, stuck in neutral.

Maybe that's why such strange things always seem to happen in Florida. Maybe that's why they can't vote straight. Maybe they're confused.

I'd be confused, too, if it were always July. Confused and depressed.

At least I know fall will return, along with Junior Bowers, our firewood man whose praises I sing every year. Just thinking about his return gives me hope for the future. Junior will knock on our door come fall, his pickup laden with firewood idling in the street behind him.

And we will welcome him like the old friend he is, pay him an outrageous amount of money for not a lot of wood and be thrilled while writing the check.

He stacks it by the back door. The season begins.

Lots of people have flowering plants inside in the winter, a harbinger of the spring to come.

We do the same. Only in reverse. Every spring we always leave one log in the basket next to the fireplace — a symbol that another fall also will eventually return. Another winter. Another season of Sunday afternoons reading by the fire.

Until then we'll wear our flip-flops and Bermuda shorts. We'll go to the beach in Maine, work on our summer tan, eat a lobster roll and drink a gin and tonic or two. We'll enjoy ourselves on occasion, secure in the knowledge that firewood can't be far behind. That Junior Bowers is on his way. Hurry!

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