Hello, Winter!
John Norberg, humor columnist s

Historically, the mean temperature in Lafayette during November is 42 degrees -- and that is very mean coming off the warm days of summer and early fall.

By the time November arrives in Indiana I've gotten so used to warm weather and walking outside in shorts that I forget warm temperatures are only temporary here. I forget that ice and snow are coming with freezing temperatures and wind that hits your face like thousands of pins piercing your skin.

And then all of a sudden it arrives. I walk out the door one morning and there it is, slapping and piercing me in the face.


This past week winter came to Lafayette. We had snow that covered our lawns and reminded us once and for all that we don't live in Indiana because the weather is beautiful. We live in Indiana because . . . well, I don't know why we live in Indiana. But it isn't because of our weather.

Weather is not our friend in Indiana. In Indiana we don't love the weather. We battle the weather. We battle the thunderstorms, the heat, the blizzards, and ice.

We go online and look at weather reports for the next 10 days with fear in our hearts. We know it's going to be hot, humid, with blistering sun. Or it will be cold, wet and dark.

Sometimes all in the same day!

I have iPhone apps that give me all kinds of information about the weather for the day and what's coming next. They have detailed colored maps that describe everything that is happening with frightening graphics.

I would much prefer a weather app that just told me whether I should get up in the morning or stay in bed.

The recent November snow brought up a lot of controversies in Lafayette area homes. It begged the question – if there is snow on the ground in mid-November is it okay to put up Christmas decorations?

This is not an issue that bothers stores. They start the Yule shopping season in July with images of Santa Claus in Revolutionary War garb asking Benjamin Franklin what he wants for Christmas?

But in our homes we don't start the Christmas season in July, or even September or October. Most people wait until after Thanksgiving to start playing the Bing Crosby music.

But if the snow comes early does that make it okay to start Christmas early, before we've taken a long autumn nap after eating too much Thanksgiving turkey?

An early November snowfall will put people in the Christmas spirit. But when is it officially Christmas?

Me: "I think it's time to start doing Christmas now that it's snowing."

Wife: "I'm putting a few decorations up to make the house look festive for Thanksgiving."

Me: "That's great. But don't you think it's time for you to start making some Christmas cookies? How about some eggnog and peppermint ice cream, Christmas breads and pies?"

Wife: "If you start Christmas eating in the middle of November you're going to need 20 reindeer to pull your sleigh by mid-December. Let's do this modestly. A few Christmas decorations in November, a modest Thanksgiving dinner followed by bicarbonate of soda, a weekend of rest and then we can start the holidays."

Of course she's right. We really shouldn't start celebrating Christmas until we've seen the whites of Santa's eyes.

But wasn't that what we saw in the snow this week?

Don't ever forget the importance of Thanksgiving.

But whenever Christmas fills your heart it's okay to put up the decorations and begin to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.

Especially the most wonderful sweets of the year.

It's just that when it snows this early I didn't know whether to go outside and rake the snow or shovel my leaves.

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