We have reached that part of the year where nothing much is happening; that part of the year that I like to refer to as the dead of winter. The holiday season has passed now that we have St. Valentines’ day in the taillights. Lent is here and it is still a long stretch to Easter.
I remember back in the day, this was the time of heavy lifting at school. The teachers loaded us up with lots of work and we waded through it all like a man shoveling snow off a driveway. Mind you I have absolutely no idea what that is like. I have seen snow deep enough to require that only once in my life. I shoveled off the driveway with a flat garden spade that was much too small for the work it was trying to do. I am glad to say that I have never owned a snow shovel, and I hope I never need one.
But I digress, back to schoolwork. This is the time of year that the term papers and book reports were usually handed out. I found it hard to concentrate on writing. I would rather spend the time dreaming of being outside, playing ball, riding my bicycle or swimming. Of course in later years, my mind was occupied by the gentler sex. Holding hands on walks through the parks, dancing and all the things that goes along with being a teenager. In my sixth and seventh grade years, my classrooms were along the edge of the school that faced a small wooded lot. I explored every nook and cranny of that thicket in my daydreams. I doodled many a drawing of those pine trees in the borders of my notebook along with my class notes. At times the drawings were more detailed than my notes. However, I was never good enough of an artist to show my work to anyone.
Down in Florida, dressing for school was quite an art. In the early mornings, it was cool enough to warrant a medium weight coat, but in the afternoons, after the winter sun heated up the neighborhood, walking home with those coats on left me sweaty and sticky. The coats were too bulky to roll up and carry under my arm. This was not too bad a problem when I was a paper boy, as I would throw my books and coat into my cloth paper bag, hang it from my handle bars and ride home. But in my later grade school years, after I no longer thought it was cool to be riding a bike in the presence of the girls in my class, I opted to walk home, for you see, one can look a lot cooler walking than riding. This left the problem of what to do with that winter coat. Solution; tie the arms of the coat around your waist and let the body hang over your rear. Not as cool as walking home in rolled up shirt sleeves but not too bad either.
Even in high school it was de-rigueur to wear your coat tied up around your waist, UNLESS you wore a letter sweater to school. No way was that going to be unceremoniously tied to my backside. That letter was going to be worn proudly until it was nearly hot enough outside to go swimming.
After moving from Florida, with its wide temperature swings on winter days, it was rare for me to see a coat or jacket tied around a pretty girl’s waist. But occasionally, when I am down on campus I spot one tied around a cute co-ed! When that happens, I am back in eighth grade, just beginning to understand what makes the world go round. Oh MY!