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If I ever had a negative comment to make about the weather, my mother would chime in with this little ditty, that even years after her death, is still burned into my mind, and brought to my own lips whenever I or anyone near me starts to complain about the weather: “T’aint no use to fret or complain; it’s just as easy to rejoice! For when God sorts out the weather and sends rain, well, rain’s my choice!” As much as I used to hate to hear it, the verse is correct insofar as complaining about the weather does absolutely nothing to change it; it only affects how you feel about something over which you have no control. So you might as well feel good about it, accept whatever comes, even rejoice. “Rejoice in the Lord, always!” (Uh-huh.)

BUT: (We all knew a big but had to be coming) I reserve the right to complain about any and all newspaper, radio, or televised weather reports! Even the Farmer’s Almanac can get me riled up. Why? Isn’t that also something over which I have no control? Absolutely not! I can refuse to listen, watch, or read any of them; or if I do hear or see them, I can choose to ignore them. I’ve found over the years that every prediction has about a 50/50 chance of being correct, with maybe a little gray area thrown in to unbalance the even scales of weather justice. When it comes to weather, I have learned to never expect anything, but to perhaps be prepared for everything…even though most often I just take my chances. If I don’t bring along a raincoat or umbrella, or a winter coat or sweater and gloves, then I just get wet or cold if the conditions warrant a need for the things I didn’t bring along. No matter. What is worse to me is carting all that extra stuff along or wearing it and getting too hot, and those things you are just as likely not to need, having been taken off, are then lost or forgotten along the way. This of course brings to mind something else my Mom used to say. If she had a choice between being too hot or too cold, she preferred being too cold. After all, when you are cold you can always put more clothes or blankets on; when you’re hot, there is only so much you can take off.

When my mother would offer advice when I was younger on what to wear or take with me regarding the weather (based on her own observations…never various other weather reports), I came to realize the true definition of a sweater, jacket, coat, or hat: Those are things a child puts on when the mother is cold.

From experience I have learned to mistrust weather maps, especially the high-tech variety that predict oncoming storms or clear skies in living color, colors varying according to the sort of precipitation we are told is coming, and not only what is to come, but exactly when it is to arrive! Bah! Humbug! Al Roker, I love you man, but stick to humorous commentary, or reporting fluff pieces, or inspiring weight loss, but really – let’s get serious now – forget about predicting the weather – and that goes for all meteorologists. My favorite weather reports are the ones that tell you, when it is pouring rain outside, that there is a 30 to 40% chance of rain that day. So this Winter, the same has gone for snow. Can’t begin to tell you how many dire predictions have been made, or Winter Storm Warnings posted causing countless grocery store shelves of milk and water and other staples to be wiped out by nervous people who are sure the reports are most likely correct, and that “Snowmageddon,” or “Noah’s flood” is on the way. But at least half of the time, we have completely, or almost completely, dodged the bullet. I still say the best way to judge the weather is stick your head or hand out in it. If it comes back in wet or cold, you know what to wear or how to prepare, or if it’s safe to just go back to bed and pull up the blankets.

So, turn off the radio and TV weather reports, close your farmer’s almanac, and line the garbage can with the newspaper weather maps. Take a look outside, thank God for what you see, and remember: “t’aint no reason to fret or complain…it really is just as easy to rejoice…”

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