Where do they get it from?

            As I do occasionally, I have given my two “high school” daughters several rides to school in the last week.  They seem to like the White Bus (my pick-up truck) over the Yellow Bus.  And so any excuse gets them the preferred ride to school.  “I need to be in early to take a test.”  Or “My hair is taking too long.  I’ll miss the bus.  So can you give as ride today?”  The requested ride to school is always followed by some sugary phrase.  “I love you daddy!” is most commonly used.  They somehow think that I’ll drop everything and run to do their bidding anytime they start acting sweetsie with me.  They are right.  So I make a lot detours to the school on my way to work. 

            Well, last week as we headed out for an early school drop off, nothing I could do or say would persuade Amelia to put on a coat.  I knew she would be at school and then work from 7:00am until after 10:00pm. 

            “Aren’t you going to wear a coat today?  It’s 10 below zero out there.”

            “I am wearing a coat.”

            She showed me her thin fashionable sweater that she had on over her short sleeved shirt. 

            “That’s not a coat.  You’re going to freeze today.”

            “I don’t have a coat.”

            Not true.  Her mom told me that she just won’t wear it because she wants to look cute, and wearing a coat isn’t.  So off we go in the dark predawn artic air, to the high school where her early morning make-up test is waiting.  She IS willing to huddle in MY coat while we drive the 7 miles to the school.  As I’m driving along, I wonder if I should have forced her to take a coat anyway.  But I know that if I did, she would ditch it in her locker or worse in some hall, never to come back home again, and she would never wear it anyway.  So I wait to make sure that the empty looking school is unlocked and she can in fact get inside, so she doesn’t freeze to death, before I leave to go to work.  As I drive away, I’m wondering, “Why are they so stupid when it comes to dressing warm in winter weather.  I know that my Beautiful Wife is a perfect example of burrowing into warmth before venturing out in the cold.  So where do they get it from?” 

Then my memory takes me back to when I was first going to college.  I lived at home and went to the local college which was only 5 miles from our farm.  At the time, I worked for the school’s electronic services.  The job included everything from setting up sound systems for large classes on campus to running the lights and sound for the big performances and concerts that came to our college. 

On this particular morning, I had to go in early to do class room setups before my own classes.  I drove an old drafty delivery van, which barely put out enough heat to keep the windshield defrosted.  As I left the house at 5:00 am that morning, I remember thinking, “It feels a little cold out today.  Maybe I should go back and get a jacket.”  I looked at our yard thermometer, which read -25.  Then I thought, “But I will be inside warm buildings all day, and I don’t want to have to carry around a jacket.  Besides, I’m sure it will warm up to around zero when the sun comes up.”  So I continued on with shirt sleeves only.  

That afternoon, after my classes were finished, but before I could get back home, I was asked to stay and help run the lights for a show that night. It was the largest stage set up I had ever seen come to our college.  Along with the bus load of performers, they brought two semi tractor trailers loaded with their own equipment.  The set up before the show began took about four hours.  This was back when the eight foot long super-trooper spot lights the college had, ran on carbon rods similar to welding rods.  I loved running those big lights while following the instructions from some unseen show director as he told us what to do through the intercom system. 

The show ended about 11:00pm.  And I still hadn’t been home yet.  But now, they needed help putting all that equipment back into their two semi-tractor trailers.  It wasn’t until about 1:00am when I started to realize how foolish I had been in going to school that morning without a coat or even a jacket.   Instead of warming up some during the day like I thought it would, it had turned colder.  I worked outside loading that equipment until about 2:30am.  The campus thermometer now registered -40.  I couldn’t stop my shivers.  Hard work wasn’t enough to generate body heat anymore.  One of the fellows from the show had pity on me and gave me a pair of gloves to wear. Nothing had ever felt so good to me.  I wondered if I would ever be warm again.  Finally the job was done and I could go home.  Once at home, I stirred the hot coals in our fireplace and then piled on the wood.  While waiting for the flame to generate real heat, I found blankets and made myself a bed in front of where the fan blasted out the heat of the fire.  Then for the next three hours, I lay there and shivered uncontrollably.  By the time my shivers subsided, it was time to get up and go back to school for another day.   This time I took a coat. 

I came back from my memory as I pulled into my parking space at work.  I have to suppress a smile as I think, “I don’t have to wonder where my children get their stupidly from when it comes to under dressing for the cold.  I hope they will somehow survive like I did though.”

19 thoughts on “Where do they get it from?”

  1. I’ll never beable to relate to this… I didn’t care if I looked like a complete idiot … I always dress for warmth.. hehehe…Yeah.. they definately got that from you.. hehe.. Vallerie

  2. Boy that brought back the memories.  I grew up in snow and cold country and many a time I sacrificed common sense in order to look good. 

    Well, Ron, that lesson learned, remember that some day your daughter will reflect in the same way you have just done as she wonders about one of her own youngsters.
    I raised sons and assure you that in matters of "fitting in" boys can sometimes be just as bullheaded as girls.
    Another great reminiscence! Thank you for sharing.
    Pece and love, always…

  4. Hey dad….. I liked your story. 😛 I rememeber that I use to be like that, then I got older and wiser. It is funny to watch my little teenage sisters do stupid stuff like that, knowing that I did all the same stuff. Have a great day!

  5. Show you how to ski?  Not likely. I might watch from the lodge.  Boy do I remember those days of cold and colder days.  AND I remember that van.  Were you referring to the brown van?  The one you could start using a popsicle stick as a key?  I remember going to school many days without a coat because it was a balmy 20 degrees and thinking that I was somehow superior to all the college students from California, Florida, or other places south because they were all bundled up like it was cold outside.  Now that I look back on it maybe they were the smart ones and somehow the cold had affected my intelligence. I found it ironic that you wrote about the cold today because I am in the middle of composing my own blog on things weather-related.  I should post later today.  (p.s. If the good weather holds I will most likely come to the wedding.)

  6. Hi Ron,
    Believe me I am NOT bragging about the snow and cold, and you are the only one who is jealous,lol. I’m with Vallerie, I always dressed warm and didn’t worry how I looked even when I was a teenager…I knew even then that frostbitten skin is not attractive. Did you know that -40 Celcius is the same as -41 Fahrenheit??

  7. Flash!  I had NO IDEA that Vallerie was your wife!  What a small world in a way!  I enjoy communicating with BOTH of you.
    But NOT with the Cyber Stalker of Many Guises.  I couldn’t keep myself from getting a bit paternal with Vallerie when I read what the Lower Lifeform said to Vallerie and after discovering the nature of one of his blogs.  Hope I didn’t irritate you with my intercession; Vallerie seems OK with it.
    Russ (thotman) sure enjoyed meeting you.  Who knows?  Maybe I can do the same one of these old days…

  8. Ufff, I couldn’t translate this entry yet! Life is a little busy nowadays.
    I would like to read that lines easily for everybody. But I hope I will…
    I am glad if you enjoyed my poet entries. A good poem can change a
    person’s perspective…
    Have a great day!!!..

  9. Ron,
    This is priceless and makes me think back to when my children were the ages of yours. I too use to ask myself where they picked up some of the foolish habits- Why me! I would have rather of stood out in a 6 foot snow drift with my really cute little shoes on than to have woren those UGLY white rubber boots my dad bought me and I did. LOL!!! One day when they have their own children and encounter these moments they will look back and know where their children got it from..
    God bless you and your precious wife and family. You are in my prayers.~Marilyn~

  10. Ron,
    Thank you for visiting and for the kind comments. Not only is my space eclectic, but my life as well, LOL.. To many interest and not enough of my own originality. Am a child of God and a lover of His word and Truth.
    God bless you my friend and your precious family;~Marilyn~ 

  11. I’d rather be warm….  however, my kids did the same thing…  hope you and Vallerie have a pleasant weekend.   lottiemae

  12. Well I grew up in Southern California so cold was hardly ever an issue for me but I do remember the day I snowed in Calif. I was in high school and my normal little peasant blouse and jeans was plenty for me. Froze my patutie off till the sun came out and warmed me up again. Show your daughter a vogue magasine with all the models wearing coats and looking very prettywearing coats! LOL

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  14. Ha ha, Amelia make remember me some old days.
    I saw myself in that old days. I enjojed with this entry Ron.
    Have a great weekend, to you and to your family.

  15. I can nt conceive the feeling of – 40 . . . . . I went to a victorian built school, it had a large hall where we held morning assembly[ prayers]. It had one standard coal fire to heat this huge room! maybe – 10 at the coldest. The headmaster’s rearend blocked most of the heat from the rest of us and what heat escaped passed him radiated as far as the piano and its player.. . .  I never go out in our [mild] winters without a vest beneath a shirt and a parka jacket . . .

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