Why Me? Why Write? Why Now? Why Not?

The Me is Doug Curran…Douglas M Curran…Douglas Metcalf Curran. Douglas is Celtic for “dweller by the dark stream”. Curran in Gaelic means “little spear”. And Metcalf? Scottish for “I met a calf”? Hey I don’t know! I don't have all the answers. I'm still trying to get the questions right. At least I seem to be a spear fisher by some dirty water. Or maybe I'm a Druid. And that Curran thing may not even be as Irish as my Irish American wife, Colleen Fitzsimmons, hoped it was when she married me. Ok, I might be a Viking. It's like this. I was reading this book, The Lion Of Ireland, see, and the author, Morgan Llewellyn, recounts a last battle between Brian Boru and the Viking invader king, to regain Irish dominance again throughout the island and kick the fureners out. The Viking king's name? Olaf Cuaran? Cuaran? Curran? I'm a Viking now, so I am? And a descendent of one of those marauding and murderous pillagers and plunderers? I've never pillaged a thing in my life...well, maybe a book or two from somebody. I'm really just a gentle giant who loves books and music. Ok, I bought a sword recently, but only as a wall decoration to enhance my Irish family history coat of arms! Honest! Viking, Schmiking, so rest my Irish soul! Or my wife will have my old bald Irish head!

June 6, 2009

Summer's coming and I'm already cooked...

Can’t Take The Heat (My Snow Daze)

Now that I’m older and “wiser”, I have a lot more questions than answers. Like why do people literally run after the sun, worship the sun, bathe in the sun, or can’t live without the sun in their face? I do not chase the sun! You know, like some seniors are always going where it’s hot and trying to get out of the cold? I’ve been suspected of howling at the moon a few times and I do have a problem with too much facial hair and longer than normal eye teeth. But the sun? I can’t take the heat. And why do a lot of people think it’s so romantic to be all salty and surf-beaten with sand in their shorts on a hot, humid beach? Where do they come up with this stuff? It's all ad hype. Most people don’t tan well anyway, especially us northern European types with our white skin and freckles. Cancer alert!

Some time ago, I went with some friends to the Scottsdale Arizona area and stayed with them in their resort, the Marriott Camelback. It was March and a little cool for the season. The tourist season is March and April when it’s supposed to be in the 70’s. It went right from the 50’s to the high 80’s within a week and that did it for me! I am not a sun bunny. But some people chase the sun in their old age, while I will chase snow. I will look at the local or national weather maps and find the snow and go, whenever and wherever it takes me, like tornado watchers but the white stuff instead. My wife Colleen is all over that and has the same cold blood as I do, so that will help us weather the storms of old age. No, I don’t snow ski or snow board or snow jump or snow skate or snow slide or snow blow. I just don’t like to be hot!

I am just a wacky, wintry kind of guy. I love cold and cloudy and snowy days in the winter. When it’s Winter, I want it to act like Winter. Don’t even tell me it’s going to be warm, Mr Meterologist, and apologize for the snow! That’s traitorous and an affront to your profession. It drives me crazy when I hear these guys say on the radio or tv that it’s going to be bad weather for awhile when they forecast a storm - even in Spring! They’re always assuming that everyone wants warm, sunny days. Not me, weather dorks! I hate it when they call these days dismal and they can’t wait for a sunny forecast. I say fire the whole lot of them for presuming that I personally can’t wait for the sun. I like it to be Winter in the Spring. I have no problem with it being Winter in the Fall. And I know I could handle Winter in the Summer. Bring it on! Apologies to all the SADD’s out there of course.

See, when I create my own world, my ideal year would be a cool September right after Labor Day, assuming we have such a holiday. I do love to see the leaves turn. And what makes that happen is cool wet weather. I like living in Utah because I can see the leaves turn on the mountains and snow happen on the peaks while it’s starting slower in the valley. I would like snow right after Halloween so the kids can have a cool but dry trick or treat time. But by November, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow – and do it right through Thanksgiving so we can go over the river and through the woods , and of course, it has to snow on Christmas Eve, on top of existing snow, and on New Year’s Eve and all the way through January, February, March, with a little tapering in April with more cool showers into May and June.

By July 4th, if there is one, it can warm up a little for variety and food growing of course - but nothing over 70, which should feel pretty warm after a long winter. Heck, I might even go outside for a parade or two, with my head well-covered of course. I can allow for a little sun in July and August, but clouds and warm rain would be best. Middle August should start to cool down. So where can I chase snow and get me some cloud? I can always put on enough clothes to get warm or warm myself by a nice cozy fire. But when I’m hot, I can never take off enough clothes or find a nice cozy block of ice to cuddle up to. Sorry, folks, while you are chasing sunny days, I will be looking for a snow bank to burrow into, an igloo to hibernate in, or at least a cool storm in the forecast.

Did I tell you my Hawaii Christmas stories of trying to close the windows and curtains on Christmas Day and gather the kids around the fake fireplace while everyone else was at the beach? The beach on Christmas Day? That’s sacrilege!! I was grateful for the breezes in Hawaii that made that year-round 75-80 degrees tolerable. But when August rolled around into September and Kona weather set in with nary a wisp of wind, I’m sorry, but that was sticky and soggy. I remember one night playing ball at a camp out on the beach with my kids. I had been swimming first, then played wet and sweaty in my jeans, then went in and fell asleep in the tent with my clothes on. When I woke up the next morning, I had a red rash from my waist to my thighs in a bathing suit distribution. The dermatologist called it some unknown name and gave me some water pills and other stuff. But to this day, I have a heat itch that pops up at all the wrong times and places.

But even Hawaii wasn’t as bad as my summers growing up in Maryland, when the temps and the humidity both reached the high 90’s! My only form of air conditioning in those days was to strip down at night, put a wet towel on, turn on the fan, and pray for sleep. I’ve seen the red and raw lobster skin of the bathers on Waikiki, the cracked leather skin of the golfers on the Arizona links – and I’ve felt the tight burn of the Atlantic and Pacific, that cruel mix of sea, salt and sun and have even gotten over baked under the high desert sun of Utah. I even fell asleep under a sun lamp once in my dorm room at BYU! Woke up with a big red circle on my chest. Ouch! - a lot! It doesn't work for me, sorry. I'm not a human barbecue anymore.

No, I’m a converted mountain man, folks. Give me the high mountains, the snow-covered Pines, the clear salt-free lakes, and a cabin in the deep woods with a fireplace on constant burn. I must have the cold blood of Irish Viking Bear ancestors in me that tells me the sun is to be feared, not worshipped, before my lilly white skin picks up some melanoma or carcinoma or some other kind of "noma". I do not need a perpetual tan, my sun block is in the hundreds, and excuse me while I hitch up the dogsled or one-horse open sleigh for the winter or any of those other wintry pastimes, because I am old man Winter, who likes his hot shower and hot tub and hot chocolate and hot sweetheart by his hot side in front of a hot fireplace – but only when it’s cold outside.

Thank you Colleen for feeling the same way! You are the snowstorm of my life! Let’s start picking out our retirement cabin in Maine or Montana or Minnesota, as close to the northern border as we can – or better yet Alaska, even if it doesn’t start with an “M”. Aurora Borealis, here we come, because I like it dark too, even in the daytime, so my fireplace can keep me lit. I don’t drink, so can’t get lit that way. And while all those wimpy seniors are heading south for the winter, we’ll be seeking refuge from the sun. “Snowbirds” they call themselves! That’s an insult to the word “snow”! But the opposite would be sunbirds and I don’t even want to be called anything but a snowman! And if they find us as two frozen skinny lovers in the snow someday, well, what a way to lose weight! And if there is any last breath in me left before I pass, I hope the kids are there to say, “Dad, Dad, go to the snow, go to the snow.”

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