Ol’ Man Winter

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Ol’ Man Winter came a little earlier this year when he roared in like a young man last week with his emphatic announcement — “I am here!”

He arrived with full bag — a little frost, a cold rain, wind, a few flurries and below freezing temps.

He had already treated our western neighbors with snow.

I was glad to see the old guy, because I like cold weather. Tends to make one feel better and certainly makes one move a little faster.

The first freeze always takes me back to earlier times when cold was just that — cold is cold is cold.

Heating systems in my growing up days were a far cry from what we have today.

We heated with a combination of wood and coal. It kept one room toasty, but in the unheated rooms it was normal for a glass of water on a bedside table to freeze overnight.

I recall cold weather traditionally arrived before Halloween when I was growing up, because it was always winter cold when we trick or treated in the neighborhood.

My first job was when I was in the third grade at Virginia Street School in Goldsboro.

Two elderly ladies lived across the street from the school and three days out of the week I stopped by their house after school to cut kindling wood for them.

The pay was 10 cents, but that bought a lot of candy back in those days. It was also what it cost to get in the theater downtown for the Saturday morning cowboy shows with the likes of Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Gabby Hayes, Gene Autry, or the Lone Ranger and Tonto.

Ten cents went a long ways for a youngster in those days.

I grew up on North Carolina Street near the train station.

We always called it going uptown.

Without question, that is where it was — uptown, not downtown.

It was a steep climb from Carolina Street up to George Street, a two block stretch. Then it was two more blocks over to Center Street where there were three theaters — the Paramount, the Center and the Carolina.

The Carolina had the Saturday morning cowboy features.

This was all in the day before everyone in the neighborhood had the luxury of a television. Only the well-to-do had that luxury, and I recall only one family in the entire neighborhood with a television.

The Saturday morning movies uptown were always moments to look forward to and remember. The rest of the week young’uns created their own entertainment.

Winter has arrived. It is nice to get instant heat with the touch of a remote or the touch of a thermostat.

But ... I still like to sleep in a cold room.

William Holloman is a staff writer for the Mount Olive Tribune.

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