At least our freezing temps won’t last

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 10, 2010

As temperatures plummeted this week, Miss-Lou residents went scrambling for a warm spot.

Frozen pipes and heaters on the fritz kept repairmen on the move on Friday, after the first night of the “hard freeze.”

Darting from the warmth of a house, into a soon-to-be-warm car, then into a warm office on Friday left me with a slightly skewed view of just how cold it was here.

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Just before leaving for lunch I thought to myself, “This isn’t THAT cold.”

A short time later, I found myself sitting in a local restaurant where the heater was having some issues and the water pipes had frozen.

In a few minutes my smugness left me as the cold seeped into my bones. By the time the food came this old man was getting cold, despite still wearing a coat indoors.

“The food’s warm,” I told Julie as I warmed my hands over the steaming hot sandwich.

I was only half joking.

The other half of me was pretty dang cold. I guess that’s what happens when you get old.

Can a sweater and support hose be far away?

Cold weather, though, is something that I suppose you can get used to a bit.

Less than eight years ago, this southern Mississippi boy headed to the great white north (OK, it was really the most southern tip of Ohio, but still, it’s way north of here).

And, as fearful as I was that I’d either freeze to death or kill myself driving in snow, after four years of life in Ohio, I returned home.

I didn’t freeze to death and I didn’t kill myself, though it did scare the buckeyes out of me a few times when I hit a patch of black ice.

And, I showed my ignorance of life in the north more than a few times, too.

My father genetically provided me with a lead foot, which I soon found doesn’t mix well with snow-slick roads.

There were a few “cold incidents” during the Ohio Years.

One of the first was when I quickly realized why people from the north typically have dirty cars. The junk sprayed on the roads to prevent icing forms a concretion of sorts wherever it lands on the exterior of your car.

Brilliant me decided to go to one of those coin-operated car washes one night after work to get rid of the stuff. It was, apparently, one of the coldest nights of the year.

No sooner than I would pass the high-pressure wand across the car, the water would quickly form into a protective layer of ice, keeping the crud beneath preserved like some ancient insect in amber.

Silly Mississippian.

On another occasion, it didn’t occur to me the importance of quickly shoveling the snow from the driveway — which was on an incline. After a day or two of driving over it, slowly compacting down the snow, the driveway was an ice rink.

Not only could I not get the car up the driveway, I also busted my rear trying to walk up it after parking the car on the street.

Silly Mississippian.

While temperatures this week in the area dropped into the teens, which is pretty dang cold, it was not a record, nowhere close.

The low temperature record for January — at least the record that I found — was a low of 4 degrees on Jan. 27, 1940. Interestingly the record high was 83 on Jan. 2, 1952.

I’m glad that our temperatures only rarely dip into the “hard freeze” zone. Living below freezing isn’t fun or normal, in my book.

As the old phrase popularized a few years ago went: Been there. Done that. Got the T-shirt.

And I don’t want to go back.

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or