Sept. 22 was the first day of autumn, the equinox, yada, yada, yada. I was busy whipping up 100 finely-crafted chicken enchiladas (ha) for the soccer boys and was too busy to watch the weather forecast. I shoved all the shiny, tin-foiled pockets of goodness into the cooler and packed them well with towels and newspapers to stay warm for the duration of the games. If only I had thought to pack enough to keep myself warm.
I stepped outside to feel the air. Hmm, not bad. I could see that rain was coming, but rain comes and goes and that’s just life. I threw on jeans, undershirt, Hiland shirt, and my fuzzy work coat that does double duty when you’re a bit chilly. I grabbed an umbrella, a blanket, my chairs, and headed west toward the game, which was being held at West Holmes.
I think I was overexcited about it being the big battle of Holmes County soccer bragging rights? Since our girls had fallen to the West Holmes girls we were raring to take this game. I was ready – or was I?
The rain had started to fall and the wind had started to blow. Incessantly. Branches were falling everywhere, and me? I was humming along in my car with the hubby on my way to a soccer game. I never worry that it will get rained out. “They only cancel for lightning and thunder!” I always say. We arrived at the field with a few drops still falling lightly. Unpacking our gear we headed toward the fans who we found huddled in front of the press box hanging on for dear life. I chuckled lightly thinking that it couldn’t have been that bad, settled my chairs and watched the rest of the JV game.
My warning should have been the fall-looking sky. You know the one, all heavy dark clouds with wind pushing them swiftly across the sky? It’s that dark blue that hangs heavy with the bluest sky behind it, usually a wonderful sight, but tonight held foreboding in it. The rain finally was blown away leaving lovely blue sky in its wake. Oh yeah, it’s going to be beautiful the rest of the night.
When did my optimism become so rampant?
When the rain left the cold settled down, heavy and wind-driven on our backs. Silly me, who never wears socks, started to feel it first in a few toes. A good friend gave me some socks which I nestled swiftly over the starting-to-freeze digits. The game started and we were yelling and carrying on, because after all we were playing well. But the wind, oh the wind, was relentless with its cold blast of September air. My husband had his winter coat on with a heavy sweater draped over his head. I, with my fuzzy jacket, felt every sting of wind and rain there was to be felt. We huddled closer together and even joined chairs with our fans in a chain of blankets that had to have been hilarious to behold.
The boys played on, scoring goal after goal. We held on, with each blast of wind creeping insidiously under our blankets making a tent of them. No amount of holding them down could keep the wind out. I was frozen. I couldn’t remember ever being this cold. What was that I always say about loving fall and winter and snow? Get me a heater, stat! People were caught without heavy coats, kids had flip flops and shorts on, and the cold came on and on. It was a night for being caught unprepared. And finally, when I could feel my face no more, the game ended, mercifully, with Hiland being the victor.
I made my way down to the bus, where we had tables set up to serve the boys their after game meal. I could barely feel my feet as I walked down that dark path. The boys raced down to get their food and I marveled at how they acted as though there was no cold at all. Are they inhuman, I thought? After the food was served, cleaned up, and put away we climbed in our cars and headed home. The heater was full blast the whole way back into our end of the county. We had won the battle of Holmes County, but I was a miserable failure in cold-weather survival. Never again. My car will packed to the gills with heavy coats and blankets, plus socks – lots and lots of them.
When we arrived home we sat on the couch, the hubby and I, and promptly fell asleep under the fuzziest blanket we own. Our kid, who had played the coldest game of the year, headed out the door to hang out with friends, not caring a whit that it was a million degrees below zero. I dozed on and off only waking up when they came home. We crawled into bed under the covers and slept like the dead.
I used to read books about people living on the arctic tundra, furs and tents sheltering them from the elements. I used to want to experience those living conditions, carving a circle out of the subterranean ground so a tent of skins could be erected…..wait, what? Heck with that, I’m sticking with the indoor heating. And while I’m at it, anyone want to get rid of their insulated pants? I might need some.
Published: October 1, 2012