My friend Vern Acular must have his hat sewn onto his head. I’ve never seen him lose it – not even in the Gale of Bigger Yet, when the wind blew so hard, it redistributed every cap from here to North Fridgistan. I lost my good straw flopper in that storm. But I picked up a soggy old admiral’s hat that blew in all the way from the Island of Notwater, so take it all around, I guess it wasn’t a bad tradewind.
Anyway, I didn’t want to get up this morning, for obvious reasons. I mean, it’s late Spring, and everybody knows it. The trees are budding, the black flies are swarming … the other day, I even saw a grandfather clock flipping through the calendar with both hands – peeking ahead to catch a glimpse of summer.
It’s late spring, and everybody knows it, even Winter. And Winter is not taking it well.
Last night, Winter got out the grappling hooks … tried to drag us all backwards into the Land of the Frozen Toe. When I went to bed, I had three pairs of white socks on my feet. By the time I woke up, the first two pairs had turned ice blue from the cold, and the third pair was beginning to take on a shade of light periwinkle.
I felt comfortable enough just lying there, in my cocoon – not cozy, by any means, but comfortable enough. I had no particular desire to clamber out from under my blankets and expose any part of my late Spring-acclimated hide to the Winter air.
Vern was already up, of course. He said “come on, Abner. We’ve got to make it across the river before they close the bridge.”
Around here, they always close the bridge when the weather gets too cold. I don’t know why they do that. It’s not like they’re going to keep Winter out just by throwing down a few roadblocks.
I said “why don’t we wait till the river freezes? Then we can just walk across on the ice.”
Vern wouldn’t listen to me. He’d already packed up everything but the scenery. He said “come on, it’s gonna be a beautiful day. Look, the sun is already up.” He pointed off in the direction of a distant, sunlit peak.
I said “the wind must be on Winter’s side.”
Vern’s hat was flapping away in the breeze. He said “come on, get up. The wind isn’t on anybody’s side.”
I said “then why did it blow all the sunlight all the way over there?”
Vern threatened to roll me all the way down seven-mile hill and into the river. I told him to mind the stumps and boulders. Not that he would avoid them for my own comfort, but they’d make the rolling harder, and in the end, they’d just add an unnecessary level of exertion to his workload.
It wasn’t until he vowed to tell the wind where I was that I finally got up.
We did make it across the bridge in time. But that Winter breeze fought us the whole way. I think I’m going to have to look into getting my hat sewn on.