It’s cold outside.

If forecasters were correct, that’s probably what most Jackson Countians thought when they got out of bed and stepped outside this morning.

Everywhere I went Thursday, it seemed the topic was the approaching cold weather. There was a sense of dread in the conversations I heard and participated in. Before the day was out the wind had picked up from the north and temperatures were dropping as a reminder that it is wintertime and the coldest weather of the season is almost at our doorstep.

Lows this morning were forecast in the upper teens with the wind chill factor making it feel near zero. That is cold but it’s only a preview of things to come. Monday and Wednesday morning lows are forecast to be in the low teens. Tuesday is expected to be the coldest day in years with lows in the single digits and wind chill values reaching to near 10 below zero.

As I checked out our National Weather Service forecast Thursday afternoon I had to take a peek at what the weather is like in Madison, Wisc. where my daughter and her husband live. All I could do was shake my head and be thankful we don’t really know what cold is.

Lows in the cheese state are forecast to be near 20 below zero will highs struggling to get above zero during the same period. Heck, our highs will at least climb into the low 20s according to the forecast.

As Amanda and Nathan reminded me during their recent visit over the Christmas holidays, “this isn’t cold.” In looking back with lows in the 20s and highs in the 40s, it really wasn’t that cold.

But, it was colder than Nathan let on. That boy ain’t right. He would go outside on the back deck barefooted and in shorts and a t-shirt to let Cooper, Amanda’s Boston terrier, run about the backyard to take care of business.  That’s first thing in the morning when there was still frost on the deck.

“It’s not cold,” Nathan said as I pointed out the folly of his ways. “This is almost balmy.”

Yet, Nathan got gloves, scarves, and long underwear for Christmas. Each of the items had been on his wish list. And, then he went and bought a coat because he found a bargain to have against the brutal Wisc. cold and wind.

I guess cold is relative. It was cold enough for me Thursday afternoon when the temperature had dropped to 37 degrees and the wind was blowing from the north at 16 miles per hour. Come next week it will be time to break out the long johns and the gloves. I’ll layer up with a sweater too just to help beat winter’s cold.

Ah, to be young and dumb. I can well remember my dear sweet mother going, “where’s your coat” as I left the house with temperatures well below freezing. My answer was much like Nathan’s, “it’s not that cold out there.”

Now, I know better. Maybe next year I better ask Santa Claus for an overcoat and scarves. For now, I’ll bundle up and shiver in this balmy weather with the rest of you southerners.

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