When many of my friends are heading south and west to get away from the cold, I'm heading to the sofa in front of a cozy fire with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book.

Of course, I enjoy the warmth and sunshine of places like Florida and Arizona. Who doesn't appreciate year-round beaches and golf courses?


Still, they're nice places to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

Call me crazy, but there's a lot about winter that I enjoy — such as the opportunity of a snowy day which allows me a guilt-free kind of leisure.


Or, if I prefer productivity, maybe I'd rather make a simmering pot of soup or bake a sweet-smelling batch of chocolate chip cookies.

Of course, I feel for those who have to drive in snow. Not everyone is retired.

Surprisingly, I don't envy my retired Florida friends who love to send palm-strewn Christmas cards. Nor do I covet cactus Christmas trees, also depicted on the holiday cards of our Arizona friends.

And I try not to burst their bubbles whenever they call me and happen to mention their warm temperatures while inquiring about how many degrees of cold we have here.

Several years ago — two weeks before Christmas — my husband and I felt as though we were in a foreign land when we were in Florida for a business trip. We were surprised to see Christmas balls hanging from palm trees on a 90-degree day.

I'll take the old-fashioned pine trees, thank you. I also prefer the admittedly romantic Currier and Ives depiction of a wintery scene on holiday cards.

I realize most ex-Marylanders fault confining, cold, harsh winters as the reason for heading to warmer climates, and I don't blame them.

For me, however, temperatures rarely in the teens and infrequent "heavy" snows do not meet descriptions of "cold, harsh winters " like those in Buffalo and Killington.

Some naysayers will point to a few blizzards we've had over the years and I admit, snow-covered roads and highways are a traffic hazard and can be confining when you're stuck indoors, for days and days.

But thanks to modern-day snow removal, we're rarely immobile for an extended period of time.

I do remember, however, a particular snowstorm, in the '70s, that brought out the whole community who worked together to clear the snow when the plows were late getting to our neighborhood. Now, that was fun.

And who can forget the joys of sledding, skiing, tubing and ice skating — all of which I've enjoyed with my family throughout the years.


Coincidentally, as I write this column, the snow is falling outside my window and I stop pounding the keyboard so I can take in the beauty of it. Another reason I enjoy snow.

I can't help but think of my friends who are probably playing another round of Pickleball beneath the Florida sun.

Right now, I'm looking forward to heading to that sofa and cozy fire with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book.

For me, it doesn't get any better than that — as long as I'm able to leave the house tomorrow.

Dolly Merritt writes from Westminster.

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