Seniors: How Much More Can You Take?

Feb 2nd, 2011 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Foremost among considerations this February is how much more of this winter weather, assuming you live in that 75% belt where winter is being devilishly present this year, can you take?  Having lived in what I consider the metropolitan midwest for 20 years, I finally came to that moment when I could no longer take the wintry blasts and the snowy mornings.  Omaha is, certainly more so now, one of the most sophisticated cities in North America. 

It has earned its place with cultural events, arts, restaurants, special events, e.g. the College World Series, famous people (Warren Buffett, Bob Boozer, Bob Gibson, et al), educational institutions (University of Nebraska at Omaha and Creighton University), and the Henry Doorly Zoo.  It is a first class city with a waterfront and major corporations making the city shine during the day and glow at night.  There is just one thing wrong.

Omaha is a city with bitterly cold winters.  If only they could put a huge super bowl type dome over its borders and boundaries, it would surely be an ideal place to live.  Twenty years finally took their toll on me.  Cold, dark and depressing winter days finally won.  Had it not been for that I would gladly still live there.  It is a city of elegance, fun, excitement, creativity, business acumen and professionals of respect in every field.

When we lived there, it was then, and likely remains so now, a city that younger people could inhabit and find exciting.  We were younger then.  The cold, up until the time we left, did not seem so invasively brutal.  The sound of the snow removal truck on cold January mornings was like music to my ears.  But then, one had to go out and make the trek to the office.  It was a harrowing walk over icy sidewalks from the parking lot to the warmth and welcome of a carpeted and well insulated indoors. 

Had someone been astute enough to figure out how to help those of us who began to surrender to the attack of cold wintry blasts, then Omaha’s population would likely exceed that of Houston or Phoenix or even Dallas or somewhere in California, where so many escaped to avoid the winters.  It became a question of how much more could we take.  It was a place we loved on spring days, fall afternoons, even early winter with the first snow.  Summer was usually humid, but tolerable.  Winters were our Achilles heel.  But when winter started in early November and did not end until sometime in April, life became not challenging, but downright unforgivable.  The furnace ran all the time.  The thermometer was usually in the 20’s or teens.  The driveway, a challenge to traverse without banging against the door to the garage. 

Grace arrived at 6:00 p.m. when all were tucked inside, the fireplace roared, a movie was on television and the dogs cuddled nearby, tucked among us to be warm and help keep us that way.  Omaha, from that hour until waking to the snow of another day, was heaven.  And so it was until the thaw and the freezing over of streets and sidewalks and  sliding through the traffic lights on inclines on  busy Dodge street.  Omaha was like a bigger Bedford Falls, from the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  Spring was.  Summer was,  Fall was.  But not winter.  

Yet, even now, after all these years of having been long  gone to more favorable climates, Omaha remains the place that always felt like home.  “Hello you old Savings and Loan,” Hello, Movie House.”  How dear the memories!  How precious the friendships!  How lasting the experiences that taught us what a community could be!  Maybe, like me, you lived somewhere you left for the comfort and warmth of other climes.  But, maybe like me, you have found yourself lonely and sad at not knowing daily the special gifts of a town that had a way of picking you up and holding you in its arms.  Maybe, even on winter days, you still miss what was and might still be.

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