Top Ten Signs the Winter is almost Here

I'm taking a break from sermon writing to bring you this very important information about the culture in North Idaho. Enjoy.

10. You have to wear a jacket when you mow your yard.

I grew up in Mississippi where the grass stops growing and turns brown before the leaves fall off the trees. Here in Idaho the grass only seems to slow down and won't really stop growing until we've had a good freeze. In fact, I have even mowed while ice was pelting me in the face. Proof of the fallen state of Creation.

9. The Cars sound like bees.

Two words-- Studded Tires. This time of year all those super-prepared non-procrastinator types get their studded snow tires put on. On the dry pavement it makes this annoying buzzing sound that makes me think of the dentist's office. This also results in all of our roads needing to be resurfaced every two years or so. The plus side is, once you get into the right ruts your car will steer itself.

8. Steam is shooting out of the ground.

In Mississippi, we didn't use sprinklers, and if we had we wouldn't have bothered to hire some one to blow them out. In Idaho sprinklers are as common as microwave ovens. In Mississippi I prayed for summer droughts so the grass would die. In Idaho we are so hungry to see something growing after a long winter that we pour tonnes of fertilizer and water onto our grass just so we can cut it for the four months it isn't covered in snow. The steam I referred to is from everyone having their sprinkler's blown out. Some time around the end of August you start seeing signs promoting "Blow-Outs $29.99!" What a deal. Next spring you'll have to pay it again to get someone to turn your sprinklers on and send a letter to the city proving you are up to code.

7. Rigs (Pick-up trucks) transform into plows.

Jobs are tight in North Idaho. But if you are prepared, you could have all the work you want, given the right weather conditions. It's a gamble, but investing in a snow plow for your truck could pay off big time if we have another winter like three years ago. So even though we haven't had a flake of snow on the ground, I'm seeing blade-equipped trucks all over the place.

6. Men are growing beards and calling in sick.

They are actually going hunting. Don't tell their boss. Actually, their boss is out hunting too. And by the way, women are hunting also. Only most of them aren't growing beards.

5. Ski Swaps

A great place to get deals on winter sporting equipment.

4. Some people are starting to wear socks and pants.

I believe the locals are equipped with thicker skin and antifreeze blood. They tend to dress as if it is summer until the temps get below 40. Right now some people are just now turning in their flip flops. I've seen a few scarves and hoodies, but only the tourists are wearing real winter coats.

3. I cleaned my garage.

There is only one thing that can motivate me to organize and clean out my garage so that I can fit my truck in there. The threat of having to clean the snow off of my windshield. So every year I push all our junk into the nooks, crannies, and rafters of our garage so I can squeeze my truck into our (barely) two-car garage. This morning I wasn't careful and bumped my mirror on the way out of the garage. Yeah, its a tight fit, but worth it.

2. My Headlights are always on.

My truck has automatic headlights that come on whenever there is insufficient light outside. They were on when I drove to work this morning, and they will be on when I go home. As winter approaches our daylight hours reduce to maybe seven on a clear day. As my 2nd grade friend said about Daylight Savings Time, "It really doesn't seem like we are saving anything."

1. People are visiting churches.

Average Church attendance doesn't actually start going up till after December, but now is the time when people are checking out which church they will go to once their Seasonal Depression sets in sometime between January and March. People who have experienced winter here know that no matter how independent you are it helps to have human interaction whenever you haven't seen the sun for a month. Also, you want someone to come searching for you if you get lost while shoveling your driveway or drive into a snowbank in the Kmart parking lot.

What other signs do you know of that mean winter is almost here?


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