I am so very excited today to be able to share wonderful news with you all. It is my conclusion that this winter may be a tad colder than usual, but I expect less-than-normal snowfall. I was inspired to make this wonderful prognostication by the talking TV heads who are supposedly weather experts. Their forecasts have been all over the board from a full three months of Snowmaggedon to 90 days at the beach. Now, while I have forgotten most (all actually) of the information which was contained in my meteorology class, I do have some anecdotal evidence to support my prediction.
When I first started at the other county paper about 30 years ago, I remember many stories being shared about “El Niño,” a weather pattern which affects a bunch of the world, including North America. The predictions were for the worst, but the El Niño winter seemed to be milder than many thought. So, I started watching for El Niño’s, and it has been my observation we have mild winters when “The little boy” occurs. A few years later I started hearing about “La Niña” which translates to “The little girl.” Now one would think, it would be totally opposite from El Niño, but observationally, those years have seemed a little better than normal also, cold, but dry. When we get really hit is when it is neither. It seems like in those neutral years
we get slammed.
I was afraid this year was a neutral year, so I was bracing for the worst. But last week, the magic words, “La Niña” were spoken, hence I predict cold but dry. Here is the great part of the prediction, if it is correct, I will look like a great analyst. If I am wrong, I am just another weather forecaster who has no idea what he is talking about.
This week, as part of my celebration of the season, I decided it was time to start gearing up for Christmas. Since I am not ready to shop, I decided to start with the baking. A tip of my cap goes to Billy Barley, who last week wrote about the recipes which were handed down through generations in the old recipe box. Inspired by Billy’s thoughts, I decided it was time to go through my little wooden box and start planning my Christmas delights. The first recipe I pulled out was my maternal grandmother’s recipe for peanut butter cookies. My Grandma Bird died while I was young, so my memories of her are vague, but one which stands out is her peanut butter cookies. She kept a jar on her kitchen table and more times than not, it was loaded with the little brown miracles whenever we went for a visit.
Over the weekend I got the ingredients and baked up a batch. They didn’t seem to be as good as I remembered, but how could they be, there was always something special when Grandma made something. But they must have been pretty good because my two dozen didn’t last the weekend, so I will have to warm up the oven again soon.
A belated congratulations to the Ray-Pec football team for winning the Class 6A state championship. Winning the largest division in the state is no minor undertaking, and the success of our neighbors is worthy of recognition. I spent many a night covering football and other Panthers sports and will always hold a fondness for their teams. It is hard to believe that not all that long ago, Ray-Pec was smaller and then in the same class with Harrisonville. Now they have reached the top ranks and bested them all. Congratulations to the champions, you have done Cass County proud.
On a far different note, one of the most disturbing stories we have reported this year was the vandalism to the trees on the Bates County square. For years my wife and I went to Butler frequently, and I always enjoyed the square with the large majestic trees on full display. Now someone, for God-knows-why decided to go and destroy these wooden giants. Of course, it is going to be expensive to remove and replace them, but far more devastating than the cost is the total waste of their beauty and majesty.
One final note, while the news sounds promising of a COVID-19 vaccine on the horizon, we are not there yet, so please, for the sake of others, wear a mask.