A Tad Chilly

By G.E. Shuman

So, recently, my brother Steve, who lives in Florida and I were having a bit of a ‘climate’ contest, which went on for a few days. The little game went like this. Steve would text me a picture of his outdoor thermometer, and I would answer back with a picture of mine. Or, he would text with a comment on the weather ‘down there,’ and I would answer with one about how things were, ‘way up here.’ One of Steve’s pics was accompanied by a note of “I think I can… I think I can…” as the needle slowly climbed to fifty degrees. (I love my brother, I just hate his thermometer.)

In reality, my brother doesn’t brag, and seemed very concerned for us when I sent the picture of our weather situation with the big numerals showing -20 degrees. Yes, if you don’t live around here, that was MINUS twenty degrees. What fun.

Our texting soon stopped, and I had to go outside and try to start up my stupid snow blower anyway. Steve likely went out to check on his posies or something.

I suppose I need to watch my adjectives. There really can’t be anything particularly stupid about a snow blower. I like mine because it works, and I hate it because it only works if I’m out there with it, like it gets lonely or something. Maybe that’s the part that’s stupid. We have remote controls for everything in our country, from turning on the AC in the summer to starting the car in the winter. And Elon Musk can land a rocket back on the launch pad without even touching it. (Oh yes, that’s also in Florida.) Still, why can’t my snow blower simply run itself up and down the driveway without me? I would be happy to watch it from the kitchen window. (There is no justice, other than in the picture my daughter just sent me of a snow-covered palm tree.)

Those of us up here in the Arctic reaches of New England all know it has been just a tad chilly of late. Yes, we are supposed to be tough up here, and yes, I still see delivery people wearing shorts, even as their knees are probably knocking together, but, personally, I’m getting somewhat tired of being cold. It could be just me, but lately I have felt a real chill when the sun goes down, and find myself in my recliner covered with a comforter on many of those dark evenings. It helps a lot that it gets dark shortly after lunchtime around here lately.

I do have the privilege of spending many evenings with my 18-month-old granddaughter, Nahla. She comes over to babysit me quite a bit. Nahla also seems to like cuddling up on the couch with that old comforter and older Papa, just as much as old Papa does. (I also sneak some of her snacks of popcorn or Cheerios. She doesn’t seem to mind.) We watch her favorite toddler-appropriate TV show, (It’s something we both can relate to.) and both of us usually fall asleep as she listens to the music and I listen to the furnace gulping down fuel in the cellar.

Fellow New Englanders, winter is far from over, and if you’re like me, you probably didn’t like my reminding you of that fact. (I wish I would just be quiet.) Still, I do intend to make the best of it. God has blessed me with a big old sturdy house to take shelter in, and a beautiful child to share the comforter and the popcorn with. What more could anyone ask for?

The Sturbridge Times


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Sturbridge, Massachusetts


Sturbridge, first settled in 1729, by settlers from Medfield, was officially incorporated in 1738. The town is situated with Route 20 ribboning through, and Interstate 90 (Mass Turnpike) and Interstate 84 (heading to Connecticut and beyond) meeting in town. In the 2000 census Sturbridge counted 7,837 residents in 3,066 households (34.2% of which had children under 18), with an average density of 89.1 per square mile. The median income for Sturbridge families was $64,455.


Old Sturbridge Village, located on Rt. 20, is a “living museum" that re-creates life in rural New England from 1790s to the 1830s.

Tantiusques is an open-space reservation and historic site here in town.

Wells State Park is a 1,400-acre (570 ha) woodland park and campground located on Rt. 49. The park includes 10 miles (16 km) of trails and Walker Pond, which offers a setting for fishing, canoeing, and swimming.


Sturbridge has become a dining destination for people who travel from Worcester and Hartford, with many popular dining establishments such as the famous Publick House, Cedar Street Grille and Avellino.