This has been a terrible winter so far!

I didn't realize how bad it was until I received a taped call from a childhood friend who lives in Florida. His conversation went something like this: "Hi, Stan, I have been reading about the weather in New York. I'm sorry it snowed and that the winds have been very powerful and above all, it is freezing. I really and truly am sorry to tell you it's 85 degrees and the sun is shining brightly and it's a gorgeous day. Why the heck don't you drop everything and fly down immediately? You can stay at our house."

My first inclination was to laugh out loud when I played his message back. My next feeling was a bit of envy that I couldn't go outside in shorts and a polo shirt. Next, I was sorry I could not relate to him how I love taking a heavy quilt and the remote clicker and lying on my favorite couch, snug and warm and just watching television. He would not believe me anyway. In the winter, he reasons, you must be in Florida or your life is a ruin.

How should I answer him to tell him that the Christmas, Chanukah and New Year's season was just glorious? The restaurants, movie houses and theaters were all aglow for the holidays.

The thought of boarding a plane (overpriced), taking my shoes off during inspection and flying south does not intrigue me. Nor does renting a car at holiday prices and dealing with Florida traffic. I-95 is a horror. Also, the thought of eating supper at 4:30 p.m. in the afternoon as an "early bird" makes no sense to me.

I do miss the idea of jumping into a pool after baking myself on a chaise lounge. Playing outdoor tennis is also a treat I miss. I see the ball so much better outdoors than indoors.

Well, Let's Face It, there are plusses and minuses in everything. I think I'll wait awhile before I call my friend in Florida back.

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