Whatever I write about Arkansas winters comes from my childhood as I am no longer a resident of that fair state. However, I do remember, vividly, those long, cold, Arctic-like winters that seemed never to end. They were not typical New England winters, but anything below 80 degrees was cold to me. This season was usually gracious to us until at least after Thanksgiving. Christmas was usually cold but not cold enough for snow. Once, it snowed the day after Christmas, so I never remembered having a White Christmas. So now, that we're into January, I'll see what I can recall from that introduction month of our year. We could almost always expect snow...enough to make our favorite winter dessert "snow ice cream." I may tell you about that later. Anyway, by January, we had to have collected all our winter gear: hats; head scarves; caps, ear muffs (perhaps); high-top shoes; socks; long-johns (if we could afford them); and gloves...No, I don't remember wearing those. Thank God for deep pockets though. They did come in handy. And of course, I searched in the back of the Chifferobe for the heaviest winter coat I could find - be it Mama's, Dada's, Grandma's or one of my younger siblings. All I wanted was some kind of wrap to ward off the southern "hawk." If we had to work, then it was too cold to go outside. but if we wanted to frolick in the snow, then the weather seemed to warm up. Isn't that strange? Work made the outdoors cold. Play made it tolerable. When we had to go to school, then it was cold again. If we wanted to go out and get snow for ice cream, then the weather seemed just fine. If we had to run an errand, it was definitely too cold, but if we wanted to fight each other with snowballs, then, we just put on extra layers of clothing, went outside and had a "ball." Then, again, to go out and cut fire wood., it was cold again. Now, when it's winter in my adopted state, California, all I have to remind me of that dreaded season are the thoughts I cherish of the beauty snow brings and the memory of the first daffodil sticking its head up through the cold, spring ground. Even if it was still cold, the blooming of any flower announced that winter was slowly and surely creeping itself away. I could finally lift my head toward the clear, blue sky and blow my dear old "frenemy" a farewell kiss. "Good bye Old Man Winter," I'd say..."Hello and welcome bright, warm spring time."