Wisconsin provides an unusual bonus opportunity for its residents. We have a long, cold winter. Fact. It’s Wisconsin. The media tries to whip up a panicked frenzy periodically, reporting worst blizzards ever, unprecedented cold snaps and record snowfalls, but most of us roll our eyes and go on with life. It’s Wisconsin.
I’m not saying we don’t grumble. That is our special Wisconsinite privilege – the opportunity to bemoan our cold weather. The winters give us bragging rights. That’s always been fun; our grandfathers enjoyed it:
“Cold enough for ya?”
Winter is an attitude. Winter is a challenge. A dare. I host a Bible study in my home on Thursday mornings. We have 8-10 young moms and a hundred children. (Maybe it’s only about 15.) No one has perfect attendance. We often have one one or two families absent. But on winter days when the snow is blowing and the wind is bitter, every single woman is there. Some of them walk instead of driving, just because. No sissies in that group!
And now, to make it all even better, we have social media. We can wallow in our weather long-distance, with friends around the world. We can talk all winter about the challenges (triumphantly overcome) of living in the Midwest. It’s a nonchalant mention that we walked to Cathe’s house today for Bible study. After all, it’s only half a mile and the kids enjoy walking in the snow. We might post a picture of our macho teenagers wearing shorts to school in January, mentioning that they only wear jeans when they take the snowmobile to school. We plug in our cars, we let the faucets drip so the pipes don’t freeze, we have parades and go camping in December. We are Wisconsinites!
Social media bragging is best in the spring, though. We watch, rubbing our hands together in anticipation, for those facebook posts from our friends in Texas and Florida: their roses are blooming, they filled the backyard swimming pool, they are sunburned, their air-conditioner is broken so they are staying at a hotel.
HA! This is our moment. We don’t want them to feel sorry for us that we won’t be planting roses until the snow melts, or that the swimming pool is currently serving as a hockey rink. We just want to draw attention to it. We want them to be aware of our own challenges and our sangfroid in meeting them.
There is a certain smug note to every one of those “it’s still winter in Wisconsin” comments.
It was 38 degrees here this morning, but it’s warmed up to be a lovely day. I may take the flannel sheets off the bed soon.