It is an hour past sunset as I leave my afternoon client’s office. The parking lot is wet from a heavy and much needed downpour in the mid-afternoon. The puddles of water reflect the colors of the Christmas tree in the office building across the driveway. That one tree and a few door wreaths are the only evidence of the holiday season in the office park. The office I left has a small gold and red table-top tree on a round table in the middle of the lobby, but no wreath, no lights.
I lock the door and head for my car in the heavy, humid air that leaves a dewy glisten on my skin. Tomorrow night the temperatures are supposed to drop to the low 40’s. Most people I know, Floridians for the most part, enthusiastically await colder temperatures as Christmas Eve approaches. They have unrealistic images of cold, snowy Christmases up north and always wish that a miracle will occur and a northern Christmas will be delivered like a gift from Santa to Florida. I lived up north and have no such wishes. Yes, a little less humidity is nice in December, but warm temperatures are fine with me. And, no snow is my idea of a yearly Christmas miracle always delivered to Florida. Well, almost every year.
There was once in the 90’s when we did have a little snow and a lot of ice Christmas Eve, forcing me to miss a Christmas party while my sister was making merry at a snow-and-ice free celebration in Virginia. Our interstate was closed. Travelers who were dreaming of a warm Christmas in South Florida were waylaid four hours or more north of their destinations and forced to sleep on pews of local churches that opened their doors to the stranded journeyers.
And there was that Christmas in the 80’s when we had a hard freeze. My little house in the country did not even have central heat and our space heater could not begin to warm our house, even as small as it was. I cooked Christmas dinner while wearing my warmest jacket. By afternoon the ice thawed and one of our exposed pipes (exposed like most pipes in Florida)burst, creating a river of water flowing toward our gate and out onto the dirt road that ran in front of our house. Dinner was put on hold as attention was given to the burst pipe.
I walk through the quickly forming fog. Fog, humidity and heat — much better than snow, ice and freezing temperatures in Florida.