It's that time of year when many folks in northern climates begin to think that living in Florida (see story at right and on page 14) sounds pretty good. No heavy coats, no stocking up on ice-melting salt, and no snow to shovel.
The white stuff always entered the conversation when people learned that my husband and I were moving from the sunny South to Boston. "But it snows there," everyone protested, as though we were headed for Greenland.
Most quickly acknowledged that Boston was a fine place for a few days' vacation in July or August, but why would anyone want to live where snow might fall from the sky at any moment from November through April?
Boston's not Buffalo, I assured distressed acquaintances. It snows, but not too much.
I hoped I was right about that, anyway.
In the middle of surviving my third Boston winter, I'm still amused to receive frequent e-mails that inquire about the "frozen tundra," or ask how we're managing in the "frigid temperatures" - as though Massachusetts's weather were akin to northern Alaska's.
I'm also entertained by New Englanders who complain that the temperatures are too high and the snowfall too low for January. I should have been here years ago, they say, as they recall blizzards gone by. "Those were the days."
But I've noticed that both groups tend to end up in Florida sometime during the winter - Southerners looking for an early spring and Northerners warming up before the next round of frozen precipitation.
One thing's for sure. From Miami to St. Pete and Tampa to Key West, the No. 1 topic of conversation for those Florida vacationers is sure to be the weather back home.