My apologies to those of you still enjoying winter - but where I live, we had our first 80-degree day this past week. Not a big deal to most people I’m sure, and while to me it’s nice, it’s not nearly as significant as it once would have been.
My dad had a rule when I was a kid - okay, he had more than one rule but I had a hard time remembering them all at once, so I learned to concentrate on just one at a time - such as now. This particular rule determined at what point my brother and I could go outside barefoot. As you may have guessed, we had to wait until the first 80-degree day of the year. Of course, we tried every conceivable argument to change his mind: it was 80 degrees somewhere in the world, or in the house, or we’d find ingenious methods of heating up the thermometer. Nothing ever worked. Come to find out, he listened to the weather report on the radio - or used the thermometer at the bank.
I used to wonder what it would take to get the DJ to say it was 81 or 82 degrees. But, figuring it was a lost cause, and since I had no money, I never tried. And the bank - that was an obvious impossibility. There was no way to get that big reader board to read something different than the actual temperature. Or so I thought.
We’d had a couple of weeks with temperatures in the upper 70’s - but not hitting that 80-degree mark. We had been bugging my dad, trying to persuade him to relax his rule, and weren’t getting anywhere. As he so plainly put it, 77, 78, or even 79 degrees, was not 80. Then Saturday came and the weather turned noticeably colder - our home thermometer read in the 50’s. Still, we were persistent in our quest and did convince him to drive downtown past the bank - after he gave us a look that said we just might be crazy.
And then... There it was; the bank - right in front of us with the current temperature prominently displayed in big gold numerals. 100 degrees! Yay!
Our excitement soon faded however, when we were told that despite what the bank’s thermometer said, it was not warm enough to go barefoot. We argued but to no avail. Dad still said no (something about the bank having problems, a broken thermometer, or something). By the time we arrived home it had started to rain, but I ignored that - I was still protesting. The thermometer had said it was 100 degrees and that, I said, is definitely over 80! Finally, much to my surprise, my dad agreed.
“Go ahead,” he said.
I couldn’t believe it but I wasn’t about to question anything my father told me (as long as it was something I wanted to hear, of course). In seconds I had my shoes off and was out the door. The first barefoot day of the summer! And -
I think I only spent less than a minute out there. Who knew wet grass at 50 degrees could be so cold? I decided I’d wait a little while longer to go barefoot - maybe until the temperature was say, around 80 degrees!