As you may have guessed, my subtitle for this mini-treatise regarding D/FW’s November weather is, yes, a specimen of that species of literary legerdemain known as the double entendre. In my previous missives, you may have noticed that I’ll occasionally drop in a clever reference to a celebrity who comes from the Metroplex; we’re a hotbed of pop culture, dontcha know. In this case, the “Ice Ice Baby” reference is relevant not merely because November is when we get enough blessed cold for water to occasionally return to its solid state, but also because one Robbie Van Winkle once resided here. He was raised on the mean streets of Carrollton, right between the D and the F in D/FW. It’s where he gained the street cred* that earned him the nickname “Vanilla Ice.”
Remember him? The Great White Hope of the rap world, what, 20 years ago? “Ice Ice Baby” was his signature song. You know… it just occurs to me that maybe he just gave himself that name. His last name must have been where he got the “Van” in Vanilla Ice from. Huh. Guess it was a pre-emptive thing so he wouldn’t have to spend his life with the nickname “Rip.” After all, what else could you expect from the surname “Van Winkle”?
And yeah, really, he went to high school here, and I ain’t ashamed to admit it even if he is. (Amused maybe, but never ashamed. Jessica and Ashlee Simpson are from here too, remember?) Anyway, I hear he’s still around, but he’s been struggling. Lately he’s been doing Celebrity Bullriding. No joke. I imagine it’s been hard to maintain the peak of fame that he enjoyed from appearing in that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Not the new one; one of the old ones with Corey Feldman.
Remember him, too? Friday the 13th, Stand By Me, The Goonies? If not, he’s probably on Wikipedia. Yeah, he is.
But oh yeah, weather. I really have to chill with the Vanilla Bean Frappucinos from Starbucks; they kind of make me lose focus. November is one of the nicer parts of the year, in my opinion. You get the first intimation of winter in the crisp morning air, and it rarely heats up to more than the mid-seventies, or maybe the eighties. The temperature is actually kind of a crapshoot, but by the end of the month we’ve usually started getting wintry. I can remember Thanksgivings when I went swimming, it was that warm, and Thanksgivings where there was a rime of ice an inch thick on everything. Since we’re generally well into our rainy season by November, we do get the occasional ice storm. Snow we don’t see until January or so, but sleet and freezing rain isn’t unusual. I’m thinking particularly of Thanksgiving 1993, when I can distinctly remember slipping and busting my ass on the sidewalk because of the ice. Yep, those were the days! We didn’t worry so much about global warming back then. I can’t remember, in fact, when it’s been that cold on Thanksgiving in the Metroplex since.
November’s when we have our brief flirtation with fall foliage, which I understand really livens up the autumns of folks who live to the east of us, sometimes for months at a time. We get a couple of weeks, tops. We do get a lot of color, though, mostly from trees like maples in residential areas; most of the native stuff is either evergreen, like live oaks and yaupon, or the leaves just turn brown and fall off. It’s a lot better than when I lived in the East Texas piney woods, though; everything stays green there until it just dies.
There’s really not a lot more to say about November weather in North Texas. Oh, sometimes we’ll get a thunderstorm cell that might spawn a tornado, but they’re very rare. I usually think of November as mostly gray. You know how an overcast makes a cold day even colder? Very much like that, for most of the month. Not that I mind; I like the cold and the feeling of the year winding down. When it’s warm enough to be wet, it can be miserable indeed; when it’s cold enough that the rain turns to ice, it’s not so bad, as long as you don’t try to hike anywhere. We do get a few days of crystal clarity that I particularly like, especially toward the end of the month, when the sun’s slanting down and providing just enough warmth to take the chill out of your bones. It’s enough to remind you that spring will come again, but not enough that you don’t appreciate the winter when it finally comes.
*He said he earned it in Miami, but that’s what we in the entertainment industry like to call a “creative prevarication.”**