A cold wind ripped the miserable vinyl siding from houses on my block last night as winter, driving a stolen green Taurus with Nevada plates, finally returned to New Jersey.

Yesterday morning smelled like spring. This morning, odorless. It was curtains for faked-out crocuses. The old guy who sits all day on the bench outside the Rainbow Diner could actually be seen through steamy plate glass sitting inside at the counter this morning, drinking coffee and watching Regis Philbin or some such horror. Forgotten pain came hack to my hands. By now they should be crazed with red cracks around white-shingle knuckles. My engine burbled on start-up as if from under some gelatinous goo. It, too, had forgotten about winter. But everything is catching up with itself this morning.

We’ll put paid to the woozy disorientation that last week caused me to mistake a momentary snow flurry on the Parkway for a dirt storm. Had I subconsciously eliminated snow from the set of all possible occurrences? I think so. It came down from a cloud no bigger than my Tercel, moving at about 60 miles an hour directly overhead as I tried to get into the right lane in time for exit 131. The flurry triggered a brief, behind-the-wheel wake-up call, after which I rolled over again in my September-grade jacket.

My daughter couldn’t sleep upstairs last night. She said the slam of vinyl siding against her bedroom window kept her awake. Maureen was on the nightshift again. I ceded the master bedroom to Maggie and slept on the couch.

I arrived at work this morning with my fly up. Couldn’t say that yesterday. Shoes matched–everything. There was that troublesome red light on the telephone, though. Maureen, knocked-out tired, had left a message while I was driving in. She said she arrived home this morning to find Cookie, our hamster, sitting in front of the heating vent in the living room. Did I leave his cage open last night? No, I think. I left it open this morning. Last night was when I forgot to put the clothing in the dryer. It’s all coming back to me now.

6 Responses to “Reckoning”

  1. kenju Says:

    You sound like me. This is a very good post, Rick. I love the way you word things.

  2. mrschili Says:

    Love it.

  3. colleen Says:

    We almost can’t stand it if winter doesn’t torture us just a little.

    That was a fun read. It made me say BRRR. What a smart hamster.

  4. Todd Says:

    That cold makes me feel extra lonely at 4:30am as I warm up the car for the LONG drive down 70 to work. Of course it is not all that cold, by noon it was maybe 35 degees.

  5. What a Bunch of BABIES! « A Teacher’s Education Says:

    […] met my Tuesday/Thursday kids today and we had a pretty good class. I started out by giving them Rick’s brilliant piece about the rude intrusion of winter, though many of them failed to really appreciate the depth and […]

  6. TrackbackGenerator Says:



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