Joel Vernier

love the crisp fall mornings in Michigan. The change from 40 degrees to 30, then to 20 is life-changing. It begins with the infamous frost warnings! Frost strikes fear in the hearts of gardeners that may have procrastinated on leaving their indoor plants outdoors to let them enjoy a more natural lifestyle for a while. Also, for those who are trying to get the last cherry tomato to ripen and turn red.

“Frost on the pumpkin,” so to speak, is a visual explosion of eye candy! The white glistens with the sun making it seem to dance on the grass, trees, and all vegetation that it touches. It also signals that grass cutting is about done, and the leaves that are falling will accelerate.

It also signals the beginning of the heating season in the northern states. One of the traditions in our house, and many homes in Michigan, is holding out as long as possible before turning on the heat. For many, it means that we wait until the absolute last day that we can, including freezing mornings that we literally sit bundled up on the family room furniture wearing long johns, sweaters, and such.

We endure this to maintain our tradition. The only heat is from our coffee cups, the LED television, the toaster, and the bacon cooking in the oven on good days. I know some of my friends that will wear jackets and hats to stretch out the days. 

This year, it goes beyond tradition and lands directly on economics. There are predictions that our home heating, natural gas, and propane may be 50 percent higher than last year. What does that mean to those on a fixed income or people living with lower incomes? 

It means that there will be less money for the necessities to exist. Add this to the rampant inflation that we see in food prices; all of the charities that help out by providing food monthly may be outstripped by the new demand that this may generate.

So, on one particularly frosty morning, I got up from my “Comfy Chair,” wrapped myself in my throw blanket, walked over to the thermostat, turned it to heat, and set the temperature to 65. The heat is on! 

The furnace came on in an instant, and the room came up to heat. It felt good. I fell asleep in my “Comfy Chair,” then later I woke up feeling quite warm. I walked up to look at my thermostat, and it was turned to 68 degrees. My 65 setting was upped to 68. Okay, I’ll give in to the 68, but tonight I’m dialing back to 65. 

We will all have to make changes with the higher cost of living that is here today and will accelerate over the coming years, at least in the short run. Thank you to all of the organizations that help people with heating bills, food, and other essential needs. You are doing God’s work!

“Remember, every day is a gift! Some are just a little more fun to open than others.” – Joel, author of the book: “The Guinea Pig In The Freezer!” joelmvernier@aol.com.

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