Home Opinion Jeff Petersen: ON SECOND THOUGHT Wind used to open bigger can of whoop-em
Wind used to open bigger can of whoop-em
Watch the national TV news when a storm slams the East Coast and you’ll see broadcasters sporting hair that has no better chance of staying put than a New Jersey home in a hurricane.
You’ll also see, when the temperatures dip near zero, ordinary Jills and Joes claim there is no such thing as global warming.
“Look,” they’ll say, “I’m shoveling two feet of global warming.”
Wonder Woman begs to differ. My wife of two years believes there is global warming — or at least climate change. And since she has been 29 years old for 27 years now, she has seen a lot of climate change, or at least enough to see PIG, that huge glacier on Antarctica, melt enough to make the people of Crescent City, Calif., elevation seven feet above sea level, sweat.
Wonder Woman is no geezer. Not yet anyway. But she swears when she was a child, the snow was deeper and lasted longer. I say it’s because she’s 5-foot-8 now and was 3-foot-1 then. The snow gets knee high to a child faster than it gets knee high to an adult.
And adults don’t get snow days.
Worrying about climate change is one thing. Worrying about personality change, is quite another. Sure, people can enter geezerhood anywhere between 30 to 90, and a sure symptom is proclaiming that in the old days, things were more severe.
One sure way to identify a geezer is to sit around a cafe table. Ask about the old days.
The geezer will launch into a monologue something like this:
The blizzards then were more life threatening.
The winter storms were more brutal, and kids walked to school six miles, uphill both ways.
The gullywashers were more severe and could take the paint off a Plymouth — as well as build character.
The wind was crueler then, and windburned cheeks brighter. The coyotes wailed louder. Tumbleweeds tumbled faster, nearing the speed of Grande Ronde Valley antelope.
When the wind opened a can of whoop-em, back then, it opened the can faster and the can was bigger.
The summer days were more blistering.
The hammering August sun carried a bigger carcinogenic hammer.
Cockleburr hells was more hellish.
Cricket serenades on a hot night were louder, the geezer continues as he adjusts his hearing aid. The deafening silence was even more deafening.
Eerily empty landscapes were eerier, and old dogs more faithful.
Fragrant pine smelled more fragrant, to the point of making eyes water, and horseflesh smelled, well, horsier.
Thorny roses were thornier.
Humble places humbler.
The landscape, when bruised by setting sun, turned an even deeper shade of purple. The landscape was more unforgiving.
In those days, we measured elbow room in Northeast Oregon in miles, not meters, the geezer says. There wasn’t a fast food joint on every corner serving up vast quantities of joy. Boiled potatoes were our dessert.
The moonglow was so bright you had to wear shades, even at night.
Whenever I run into a geezer, I reply, “Yeah, and back then, the salty old buzzards were saltier than they are today.” That usually stops them — if only for a moment.
Unless that person is Wonder Woman. Then I just nod my head and say, “You’re right, Sweetie.”
The truth is, if we’re lucky, all of us will get our geezer cards in the mail, like AARP cards except they are delivered not at age 50 but when we earn them. Since we all may become members of the Geezer Club, we might as well enjoy the ride.