December Drama


December’s one of my favorite months, and not just because of Christmas. In fact, I can take or leave that overly-commercialized celebration of consumerism, thank you, along with all those other winter solstice events that society’s forced down our throats. (And don’t even get me started about Valentine’s Day.)  No, the reason I enjoy December is because it’s cold! I don’t care for the ache in my bad leg*, but the chill on my skin brings me surcease. As I like to say, when you’re cold, you can always pile on more layers; when you’re hot, you can only take so many off before you get in trouble with the law. I know some people really like warm weather, but I sweat when it gets above 70. Why yes, I am big-boned. Why do you ask?

Sadly, while it’s cold on average, December in D/FW can be a little schizophrenic. Statistics aren’t necessarily reality, as Mark Twain (or possibly Benjamin Disraeli) reminds us. Sometimes it’s unseasonable warm; shirt-sleeve weather isn’t uncommon. Eighty-five degrees does happen. Having lived only 41 years myself, I’m not sure if it’s worse now than it once was, and I’m too lazy to do a statistical analysis (as if I didn’t already have a math-phobia that leaves me hyperventilating if I try to go above the tens on the times-table). But I think it’s getting hotter and staying hotter longer, despite what the president’s scientific toadies experts claim.

Even when it does decide to turn cold, the warm weather can come back in a snap — and then it can get cold again in a hurry. Ever heard of a “blue norther?” That’s a term invented here in Texas to describe cold fronts that sweep in under blue-black skies to bring us the gift of extremely cold weather. They usually occur in late fall and early winter — which is to say, December. Sometimes snow comes with them, but in December it’s usually rain and sleet. Some people say the “blue” part comes from the blue skies that follow, but in my experience it usually stays damned overcast for a couple of days. It’s almost enough to make you hope for a white Christmas.

Speaking of a white Christmas (or “Crissum-time,” as my baby sister used to say), I realize that it’s foolish to ever expect something so enchanting in North Texas, but it’s always something to daydream about. If you really want one, you can do like I did once upon a time and go north until you find one; they really are kind of sweet. You may be able to find one as far south as St. Louis. But the day it snows for Christmas in D/FW is the same day I’d expect to see the glaciers heaving to on the Oklahoma border. Hell, even when that happens, it probably won’t snow here, the X-Files movie aside. Did you see that movie? Remember how they portrayed Dallas as being glaciated back in the Ice Age? Didn’t happen. And dammit, when they got up to the present time they showed Dallas sitting alone on a vast plain with mountains in the distance. What’s up with that? Ruined the whole movie for me. They can’t do a little research before committing geographical blasphemy?

But anyway! Even if we don’t get a white Christmas, we sometimes get a translucent one. That’s because since it’s still in the rainy season, we just might have an ice storm sometime during yuletide, which means that automobiles will be slip-sliding all over the roads with infinite grace. Oh, and sometimes, when the sleet piles up? If you squint your eyes it kinda looks like snow. In a way. For D/FW, that’s good enough for government work.

*Suffice it to say that in an automobile-bicycle encounter, the car generally wins.

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