Commentary: Winter-weather blues leave me longing for spring

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Jean Simmons, columnist

Jean Simmons is a Franklin resident, nurse and published author who won a Janice Keck Literary Award from the Williamson County Public Library in 2014. She can be contacted at

Cold winter weather always gets me down.

In my younger days (before I could afford a house with a garage), I would scrape off my car windshield without complaint, go outside with wet hair, wear whatever jacket was cuter without a thought to how warm it was and not bother with hats or gloves most of the time.

Now I take 30 minutes to put on my thermal underwear, gloves, hat, scarf, clothes and the biggest, ugliest, warmest jacket I can find.

Every year when fall rolls around, I try to prepare myself for the coming frigid winter temperatures. I remind myself that the really cold months of January, February and early March are coming. But every year, when the milder days of fall end, the joy of Christmas season fades away and the freezing temperatures come, it hits me all over again.

I hate cold winter weather!

That’s when I start thinking about moving to Florida. My best friend moved there a few years ago and frequently likes to tell me how warm it is, that she can still go for a run in shorts and other annoying tidbits of information about sunny paradise versus the frozen tundra of Tennessee.

I am enough of a bad sport that I was smugly pleased about a recent cold snap in Florida. I read a report that said it was so bad that iguanas, which don’t tolerate temperatures in the 40s, were actually falling out of trees.

They are cold blooded and when the temperature gets low enough, they become very slow, to the point of stiffening up and falling on the ground.

People were warned to not touch them because they can “wake up” and bite, kind of like me early on a very cold winter morning before my coffee. (If you find me like this, throw a heated blanket over me, put me in front of the fire and bring on the coffee if its morning, a hot toddy if its night.)

Anyway, I was very happy to send said article to my friend in sunny paradise. She let me know this was an anomaly and it would soon warm up while we suffer through another long Tennessee winter.

Our friends from the North like to tell us that winters here are nothing and the panic that ensues when a drop of snow hits is ridiculous. One Northerner compared the frenzy at the grocery store with the fall of Saigon. (A tip for our Northern friends: Don’t make fun of our bad driving in snow and ice. It’s true, but we don’t like that.)

I will be looking forward to the coming of spring with mild temperatures, blooming flowers and green trees again. That’s when I look up at the warm sun, like those poor penguins on the National Geographic channel after enduring a long, hard winter in the South Pole, and joyously welcome the beautiful weather.            

In the spring, I can begin to prepare myself for the coming summer with the 95-plus temperatures along with junglelike humidity. That’s when my friend in Florida likes to tell me how great it is to go to the beach during the hot weather. It’s also when I start searching for articles about sharks to send her.

Jean Simmons is a Franklin resident and contributor to the Herald. She can be contacted at

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