I can’t help but smile this time of the year. I am sitting in the office in my woodshop getting some bookwork done and the sun is shining and the air is crisp and clean. OK, it’s 3 above, but the shop furnace seems to be keeping up quite well, the coffee is hot and even my shop dogs are comfortable. Burley is wearing a sweater, but he has always been a fashion statement.
Even with the cold weather and the work involving snow removal, I am still a fan of winter. It reminds me of my Dad who always said that you can dress for cold, but not for hot. Hard to argue with that logic, but I know all the folks who beat a path to the southern part of our country this time of year would say they enjoy trying meet that challenge of dressing for hot.
I also enjoy winter because of all the visitors my area gets from those who like to ski or snowmobile. The place is packed at times and I have made a lot of good friends along the way. You can tell the folks who save all year to spend some time away from their home base to enjoy this area and I know their business is much appreciated by many. For some reason we don’t see the same number of tourists in the summer and I am not sure why. To me, this is one of the most beautiful parts of the country and not matter what your interests are, there is lots to do no matter the time of year.
I meant some folks just the other day from central Wisconsin. They were up in the area for the second time getting some riding time in. We had a great conversation about where they were from and some of the challenges they face there and I could tell their time here was a great escape which I believe we all need every now and again.
When I was a young lad, I worked at a local ski hill. I bused tables in the cafeteria and while I appreciated a little jingle in my pocket, I also enjoyed learning more about the folks who were visiting the area and why they choose to come here rather than some other place. Many were families on a budget who enjoyed the outdoors and felt this area was a bargain for them. I don’t ski and never have as I couldn’t afford the equipment or the lessons it took not to kill yourself. Later in life when I probably could buy some skis, I was busy working and just didn’t take the time. I was a little envious though watching the smiles and listening to the stories when the folks came off the hill to grab a hot chocolate and a sandwich.
I spent my off time during the winter season in the woods hunting with my Dad and our beagles. We enjoyed rabbit hunting and I will always cherish those times with my Dad and the lessons he taught me. Wouldn’t trade any of that time for the best pair of skis.
I certainly look forward to the summer season and all the fun we have here, but winter is still special and it makes me smile to remember growing up here and all the good times that were had. I think I may have to play hooky today and run out to the ski hill to have a hot chocolate and watch the folks make their way down the ski runs. Lord knows if it were me doing it, the ski patrol would be following close behind with a leg splint and a stretcher.
And that’s the situation as I survey it …
After a 35-year career downstate amongst da trolls, during which he built a successful engineering and surveying business, John Matonich is back home in da U.P. His column will appear here occasionally, don’tcha know. His book “Surveyin’ Da Situation” is available on Amazon.com.
Image credit: Cheryl