The above photograph is the closest depiction of what I remember as a certain mountain top along the DMZ in Korea. I was the fuel NCO for a mobile infantry Division, and we had a communications center located on top of that mountain. One winter’s night with temperatures below freezing and wind gusts of over 40 MPH, my assistant and I took a fuel truck up the mountain and immediately after arriving, I stood on the ground looking up as the assistant, now on the top of the truck, began to lower the fuel hose to my outstretched arms. Instead of the hose, what I received was a dousing of a few gallons of gasoline seeping through my clothes, drenching my entire body. My assistant jumped down, and threw me back into the truck and drove as fast as he could considering the severe weather conditions to my barracks. I showered and rested on my cot with extra blankets; I could not stop shaking for many hours thereafter.
I believe that incident was the beginning of my severe dislike of extremely cold weather. People always ask me in recent years how I can stand Florida’s weather in August. “Easy” is my stock response. “August heat in Florida for me is a cakewalk compared to any January or February in the north.” Currently in eastern Massachusetts there are snow flurries with a temperature of 16 degrees with wind gusting at 21 MPH, creating a wind chill factor of -1 degree below zero. And this is only November! I agree wholeheartedly with Carl Reiners’s quote, “Some people like the snow. I look at it as an unnecessary freezing of water.” For this visit I brought my ski jacket and every time I wear it and get into my compact rental car, it looks like my air bag exploded and I can’t move. Who needs this? After spending the last eighteen years in Florida, my blood system is completely acclimated to warmer temperatures. To those who love the cold and all the assorted pleasures derived from winter activities, bless you and carry on. For me, I’m on a plane south tomorrow!