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Reflections: When you’re old like I am, everyday’s a snow day

Erna de Burger-Fex says winter might be beautiful, but it’s best observed through a window, as far as she’s concerned

I must admit that winter has never been my favourite season. I don’t like extreme cold temperatures, getting stuck with my car, snowstorms – you get the idea. 

However, it does have some redeeming qualities. Going south to escape for a few weeks to a warm clime appeals to me immensely and to many others. That break from the cold and snow helps me tolerate the rest of the cold season. 

Doesn’t mean it helps me to like it – just tolerate it. There’s a difference, right?

I do notice the beauty of winter. When the hoar frost coats the trees with its sparkly white covering, I do appreciate that – from inside, of course. I only venture outdoors if I must for some pressing obscure reason. Call me a coward, I don’t care. 

When the temperature hits -30 degrees, I choose to write or read inside with a cup of hot chocolate. I look out and see the working people leaving their warm abodes and am grateful it’s not me. I well remember my teaching days when that was my lot, too. Having “yard duty,” as we called it then, was not my favourite time at school. 

I couldn’t believe having to tell some children who were oblivious to the cold that they should button their coats and put on their mitts. “Oh Miss, I’m not cold, do I have to?” There was always that one little boy who decided to test what the teachers and his parents had told him not to do – put his tongue on a metal post. He learned very quickly that it hurt — a lot!

You know, in these senior years the frigid temperatures go right into my bones, which is why I don’t like to risk going out. Betsy, my cane, must accompany me, wearing her picks naturally, so I don’t slip and fall. That happened once. My clavicle took a long time to heal, four months in fact. Most inconvenient, not to mention the pain involved. 

Driving on a very stormy day will not happen for me. I stay home and avoid getting into an accident. I always enjoyed the day off when the school buses were cancelled due to bad weather. Enjoy! Snow day – hurray!

Erna de Burger-Fex is a writer and retired teacher who writes about aging and the funny side of getting older. Got a question for Erna? Email