My weather friends,fair and foul

During our worst snow day, while I was thinking about inventing a shampoo for hair with frostbite, the phone rang. I'd been expecting the call. It was my sister-in-law, Lydia, the weather snob.

She lives in Florida.

"How's the weather in Missouri?" she cooed. I could hear her smirking long distance and could picture her sipping a cool drink on her screened porch, a ringside seat for watching flawless blue skies. She wore sandals, of course.

Lydia always calls right when we're in the thick of it. I suspect that she watches The Weather Channel, just waiting for the Midwest to be dumped upon so she can call and remind us why she moved to Florida.

This happens year-round, of course, because our weather rarely measures up to Florida's. Last summer, during a drought, when it was hot enough to fry the cow chips in the neighbor's pasture, Lydia called from poolside.

"I just took a refreshing little dip," she said.

"We don't have any swimming pools left in Missouri. We drank 'em all," I told her.

I really can't blame Lydia for bragging about her balmy weather. In fact, as soon as she hung up the other day, I knew exactly what I had to do. I called my nephew Romney in Cleveland. The only thing between him and Lake Erie is ice.

"How's the weather there?" I cooed.

"Tonight we've got a clipper coming in," he said, his voice dragging. He hadn't seen a blue sky since Thanksgiving. "I don't even know what a clipper is," he said. "The weathermen use five or six words for snow here. Last week we had a 'squall.' "

The longer he talked, the sunnier I felt.

"This morning I watched a group of women walking on Ninth Street," Romney continued. "A gust of wind blew and toppled 'em like bowling pins."

He proceeded to tell me about the growing pile of snow in his backyard, which was as tall as his garage. "We pay some guy a fortune to push it from the driveway into the backyard. It won't melt until April," he said.

I couldn't resist telling him that we'd had a patch of bad weather, but now had sun and 50 degrees in our forecast.

He paused, and I could picture him snarling.

"Weather snob," he finally said.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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