Winter’s breath has blown across the city. It often comes unexpectedly in this part of the country and rests assured it could be gone in a flash, leaving us to welcome the warmth again as we do for the majority of our year.
The few times temperatures have dipped it has come without warning. Or perhaps I simply miss the warnings. Either way, I seem to step out unprepared. Today, I added a layer.
It may seem as if I am not a fan of cooler weather but it is in fact, favorable. I’m not quite sure if this stems from tiring of the countless unseasonably scorching springs, summers, and autumns of south Texas or from my short childhood stint living in Papillion, Nebraska. I won’t get into the reasoning behind a family of 4 (later 5) moving from San Antonio to a quaint small storybook American town just outside of Omaha but you should be certain; it was special.
It was in this town that I first saw snow. That I honed my young basketball skills. And that allowed my family to grow closer. It was all at the crux of my adolescence. I was able to try new things and meet new people. Vastly different people from those I had grown up with. I was able to ride my bike from my house into the main part of town, down the main street to the library, park or donut shop. There was a yearly town fair in the vacant lot across from the high school. Incredible nuances, especially to a young Hispanic boy who had only seen or read about places like this in movies or books.
It is the culmination of these experiences, highly unique to me and my sensibilities, that I believe has created a fondness for the winter weather. An early 2018 snowfall in Texas brought back some yearning to return to that setting.
I was able to make it back to Papillion during a documentary shoot around 2009. En route from Kansas to Iowa, I expressed interest in making a pit stop (only 4 hours off the path, no big deal) and was graciously granted the allowance. I feared I may not have many opportunities to return so I was elated to take it.
We arrived. Looked the same. Which I loved. I needed that! It was still a quiet town with seemingly not much going on. I stopped by the old school and my old house. Seemed a bit unkempt. Sigh. But this was summer. Beautiful weather no doubt but it wasn’t quite the experience I would have ultimately liked to see. I’ve expressed, much later, to my wife and kids how I would like to take THEM to see the town, perhaps during Christmas time. The conversation was left open-ended.
So for now, I’ll enjoy the rainy, sleety winter breeze blowing through my hometown. Maybe some hot chocolate will suffice.