The Cold in February

Living in Wichita Falls means you are not dependent on the weather to be happy. We have all sorts without warning, and that unpredictability is part of our culture. But on really cold days, people seem to protect each other and chatter more. We hold doors for one another ‘so we don’t freeze’ although it may be 30 degrees. We spark conversation while waiting at the coffee shop. We tell each other to be careful on the roads, as if one snowflake will cause deadly ice. We let the pedestrians cross the street in the cold rather than run them down.

Weather predictors warn of impending doom and follow it by only a 20 percent chance of impending doom. We hang on their every word, and if there is any doubt, just stay home.

Summertime produces no such nonsense. Even though heat stroke at 105 degrees is much more likely than freezing at 30 degrees, we don’t worry about our neighbors. We chat less, go less, and hang by the cool air as much as possible. We never say, “be careful of the heat.” Heat we understand.

That is one good thing about this time of year in Wichita Falls. Something about the cold make us caretakers of one another. I will miss it this June when we all stretch out in the sun and the chatter about the weather stops.