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As the season changes

BY Sonny Orr Nov 12, 2023

It’s been a while since I got up before sunrise, but it’s getting easier with the shorter days. Looking over social media, I see that it snowed south of here, which is to be expected. At the 55th parallel, winter doesn’t usually set in until Halloween night, then the stone-cold wintry weather ices us in the following day. No November rain for us, it’s straight to skating.

Now that winter is on the horizon, I salute fall in its last efforts to stay alive. I know that for many, it’s adjusting to this change. And for some odd reason, the kids don’t feel like staying out so long now. It’s cold, they argue, as we try to send them out again to catch the evening sun’s dimming rays. 

Nope, they reply, it’s time to go to bed. Wow, what a subtle reverse psychology that works, even though it was unintended. I notch that one into my goomshum strategy list of how to get people to do what you want without asking for it.

I try not to mention Halloween or Christmas, as that will set off another round of howls from the young ones, as questions might arise as to when and of course, how many days left before I can get that gift I want? 

My lips are sealed for the sake of my sanity. I innocently plea, “Huh, already? Geez, what happened to the beach? Does anyone want to go there this evening and spark up a bonfire?” 

Nope – too cold. 

I look at the wall clock and it’s getting late, alright – 7:45pm. The little yawning faces yield no resistance and it’s off to sleep land for the wee folks. Yes, no sunlight does have its advantages.

Then, check the long-range weather forecast. Hopefully, no snow as I need to make another mad dash south where studded tires are forbidden. Unless, of course, you speak excellent Hoser. That should justify everything, because you know, eh, hosers know a lot more than they tend to look like they know. You know, eh? 

Because winter is a nice time of the year. That is, when it’s not snowing, when the roads are clear, when your snowmobile starts right away, when that online parka you ordered wasn’t made for Barbie, and when the sun still shines at three in the afternoon. That’s when winter is good.

 The rest of the time it’s like hell froze over, all the time.

Now it’s nearing parka season. It’s the time to implant your face with that complete, surround-sound parka you intend to live in until next April. This is important because no one, I repeat, no one, will know who you are until the sun shines warmer, next spring. 

Seriously, folks, there might be a missing bulletin for your last sighting, sometime in November. I think that some of those entertainment people in town should identify people online as to which parka is the most recognizable and work their way up to, “Surprise, it’s the dentist! Long time no see!”

As for those companies that issue the same looking parka to everyone, please note we insist that you show your face wearing your hardhat at 40 below. Or, at least, use large glow-in-the-dark nametags so that we don’t chase down the plumber when we need the airduct guy. 

Woohoo! What’s that petroleum smell? Isn’t that the furnace guy again to restart my empty furnace or is it the mechanic to jumpstart my car? Who can tell? Not by the smell, however. At the worst, where’s the sewage backup guy when you need him?

Reverse psychology may not be for everyone, as the early-to-bed kids wake up in the middle of the night to spook you out of your wits with an urgent need to go the toilet. When you just fell asleep at the usual grown-up hour. Yes, I need reverse time management, so I can sleep during the dark hours too.

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Sonny Orr is Cree from Chisasibi, and has been a columnist for the Nation for over 20 years. He regularly pens Rez Notes from the cozy social club in Whapmagoostui where he resides.