The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Senior Outlook

March 3, 2010

Carolyn Trout: Too many snow days, too few adventures

I was just sitting there, getting my hair cut, when the stylist at the next station got a phone call.

It was her teenage daughter telling her that school had been cancelled for the next day because it was going to be too cold.

It was at that moment that it happened, this moment that I’ve known — dreaded — was going to happen someday when I got old. I morphed into my mother. Or my father. Or maybe my grandfather.

“It’s going to be cold? It’s winter! It’s supposed to be cold!”

I’m not quite sure, but my voice may have quavered a bit in the ultra-high register it had reached by the second “cold.”

The stylists all regarded me with the gentle tolerance younger people bestow on their befuddled elders.

“It will be too cold for the kids who have to wait for the bus,” one of them explained patiently.

“For crying out loud,” I said, still channeling Dad/Mom/Grandpa. “We’re raising a nation of wimps.”

Everyone smiled at me indulgently and returned to the business of snipping and blow drying and watching someone cry on Oprah. Perhaps the weeper had had to wait in the cold Chicago air for tickets to the show and was now frostbitten and near death.

Now I’m not saying that when I was a kid I had to walk two miles to school through knee high snow. Barefoot. Uphill both ways.

I won’t say that because that’s just a flat-out lie.

I always wore shoes, and any idiot knows that it couldn’t have been uphill both ways. However, it has occurred to me with increasing frequency that the childhood I remember, which is probably somewhat similar to the childhood I actually had, would qualify as medieval or even antediluvian to most kids today.

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Senior Outlook