Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Mike the lawn ornament

Walked outside barefoot this morning just to see what 35 degrees feels like on coastal Florida.

It was cold.

Freeze warnings were in effect. A wind chill warning.

I spied no frost on my rental car's windshield. I did last week during the previous cold front.

Do I walk outside barefoot in Wyoming in January?

In a word, no.

It's much colder, for one thing. For another, my front yard is filled with pine cones and pine needles which are tough on tender feet. And often there is snow, also tough on bare feet. We had 20 below at the tail end of 2013 with wind chills down to 40 below. Flesh freezes quickly at 40 below. I may have stuck to the ground, might still be there if not for our usual January thaw. Mike the lawn ornament.

"Love your new lawn ornament, Mrs. Shay," said the postman

"That's my husband," Chris said. "He went outside barefoot. Thought he was in Florida."

"He'll be right as rain by May," said the postman.

"I'll miss him," she replied.

Yesterday I walked on the beach after the rain and before the cold front charged in. The ocean was calm, waves tiny. Wind blew in clouds from the west. I came across some quaint fisherfolk on the beach. Guy with New York accent reeled in his line. I greeted him. He said that he was having no luck today. His pals were up on the sand building a fire. "Smoking your fish?" I asked.

"No fish to smoke," he said.

He reeled. I walked, wished him good luck.

A half hour later, I walked by the fisherfolk again. Guy said, "Caught two big ones."

"Great!" I said.

He shook his head. "Just kidding."

"Maybe later."


That's fishing for you. As I walked, I followed a set of smaller footprints, a women's shoe size, I guessed. Saw someone way ahead, on her way south. Came across a middle-aged woman playing fetch with her German Shepherd. As I got close, she hooked the big beast to a leash. Dogs aren't officially allowed on the beach. Wouldn't do to have a tourist from Wyoming mauled by this big fella. As she walked her dog back up the approach, the hound tugged on the leash toward me.  Probably wanted to come over and say hello. I'm a dog guy. Dogs can tell that. I'm not a cat guy. Cats can tell that and swarm all over me, bathing me in dander until I sneeze.

Today, I take my last walk on the beach for awhile. I may even remove my shoes if it warms up. Leave my footprints for the surf to wash away.

Mike was here -- for a short while.

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