I was raised in the Midwest and I know cold weather. Phrases like “wind-chill, sub-zero, single digits, and deep freeze,” don’t scare hardy folks from Chicago like me. Parkas, ear-muffs, leggings, long underwear, boots, scarves, gloves and wooly socks: clothing labels that say duo-fold, fleece-lined and down-filled are winter wardrobe basics. But when the morning temperature here in San Pancho is 50 degrees, it is bone-chilling; a cold that is impossible to escape in an unheated concrete block house with clay tile floors.
There is some comfort in knowing that I am not the only person piling on the layers. Hooded sweatshirts have appeared in the pueblo. Workers huddle in the rear of pickups wearing jackets that look alarmingly like parkas. Bundled against the cold, the children are hurried along, their small feet scuffling in oversized boots. Boots?
Still, I am reluctant to mention the weather to friends and family back in the States. I am not likely to get much sympathy when they haven’t had a ray of sunshine in six weeks and the high temperature for the day is 10 degrees. And it’s true, despite the record chill, afternoons here are in the 70s and balmy; we can go to the beach.
When friends were planning a visit recently I pondered how to suggest they bring one or two warmer items to wear.
“It is a little cool in the morning,” I wrote, “and again in the evening.”
Just as I expected they reminded me of their winter endurance skills. Fine I thought, we’ll see, and put the small electric heater in their room, just in case.
It wasn’t until they had been here a few days that they conceded it was a little “cooler” than they had remembered from last year.
“Dinner on the patio?” I asked, as I carried our plates toward the door.
“Maybe eating inside would be cozier,” our guests said.
In front of the oven?