Barry Saunders

Saunders: Oh, the weather outside is ... delightful

The YMCA Super Skippers perform in T-shirts and shorts during the Cary Jaycees Christmas Parade on Dec. 12, which saw a high of 73 degrees.
The YMCA Super Skippers perform in T-shirts and shorts during the Cary Jaycees Christmas Parade on Dec. 12, which saw a high of 73 degrees.

Shhhh. Be vewy, vewy quiet. If we go on about our business and don’t make any noise, perhaps Old Man Winter will slumber for a few more months and we can continue with these 70-degree days through March.

Unlikely? Of course it is, because even as some of us continue comfortably wearing clothes we should’ve mothballed two months ago, the local meteorologists are warning – in some cases exulting – in a cold front streaming this way from Canada.

Say, didn’t y’all already send us Justin Bieber and Ted Cruz?

Mark Twain, in part of a famous aphorism attributed to him, wrote, “Everybody talks about the weather.” Period.

Here’s proof: I was invited to speak to a group of North Raleigh residents last week, and Toni Vaughn, the event’s planner, said she took special pains to seat people at tables for dinner where they’d be assured of intellectually stimulating conversation.

At my table were people who’d lived all over the world, one who’d worked in the Kennedy White House and a woman who’d served as legal counsel for multinational corporations before starting her own international business.

So, what did we talk about?

The weather. And college basketball. And grits.

Boy, did we talk about grits. Nobody agreed with my contention that there is no such thing as a bad grit, that even when they’re bad, they’re good. (The pan of grits at a certain restaurant I love had assumed an asphalt-like consistency a few weeks ago. When I asked the server if he had any new ones in back, he disappeared, then returned with a pot of hot water which he poured in and stirred. Viola! Good as new, he promised: they were.)

The conversation then turned to who invented shrimp and grits and where: someone insisted they were invented by the late Bill Neal at Crooks Corner in Carrboro.

Those erudite, accomplished people discussed other, more pressing issues of the day, but the conversation, as conversations often do, soon turned to the weather.

Half of us luxuriated in the springlike temperatures and the other half bemoaned the unlikeliness of snowmen in time for Christmas. I asked Chris Hohmann, chief meteorologist for ABC11, what’s going on with the weather. Using some of the highly sophisticated, technical jargon for which meteorologists are known, he said, “It’s been crazy warm for December.”

He blamed it on “the configuration of a jet stream” that’s doing something or the other, but then hit me with the bad news.

“A warm December does not a winter make,” he said. In other words, January and February could still turn out to be brutal.


If you want a white Christmas, he said, you’ll have to go the Rockies: yule temperatures here should be in the 60s.

Even those temperate temps could threaten Christmas, though, if Santa’s reindeer file a grievance with their union.

Union rep: Say, fat man. My guys don’t fly when the temperature’s above 60. Read the contract. You’d better call FedEx. Dasher, Prancer, let’s split.

In addition, some traditional holiday poems may have to be reworked if the warmth persists:

’Twas two weeks before Christmas

and all through the house

the only sound you heard

was the TV weathermen grouse.

“Our Dopplers are broke or either they’re


Because no matter how much we kvetch it just won’t get cold ...”

Twas one week before Christmas

and the weather’s so hot

That I had to sleep on the porch on a cot.

The overcoats are still hung in the closets with care

If the weather remains like this we can leave them there.