Fire and Ice (Cream) Perfect on a Cold Winter’s Day or Night

Over the past couple of days the temperature in this part of Texas has transitioned from “oh my word it is hot and humid” to “oh my word it is cold and humid.”

For the most part those are the only seasons that we have in this part of Texas. The hot and humid season tops out with temperatures in the 100’s and 100 percent humidity and the cold and humid season features temperatures that occasionally dip below freezing and tempt us with a day or two of snow every third year or so.

I actually won a writing award a few years back for a column that featured my attempts to fry an egg on the sidewalk during the hot and humid portion of the year which is basically March to November.

During our latest bout of winter the temperatures bottomed out in the 20’s so we were spared the single digit and less than zero temperatures that were ravaging our neighbors to the north and turning airports into nightmares for stranded travelers.

When the mercury drops a roaring fire can be just the thing to warm one to the core. This particular fire pit is inside a Dairy Queen which brings the heat and the cold. Photo R. Anderson

When the mercury drops a roaring fire can be just the thing to warm one to the core. This particular fire pit is inside a Dairy Queen which brings the heat and the cold.
Photo R. Anderson

So all things considered I can certainly not complain about the cold weather brought on by the Polar Vortex and whatever Greek god name the Weather Channel decided to give it.

In fact, I actually enjoy a bit of cold weather from time to time.

Just like any good citrus farmer will tell you that a single freeze will make the oranges sweeter, I too seem to have my mood brightened with a little blast of artic freeze now and then.

Of course multiple freezes that can wipe out a whole citrus crop can also get a bit much for me as well so I prefer one or two freezes at most to sweeten my internal citrus clock without wiping out the crop.

This is why I prefer living in Southern states where winter visits but does not get a room at the extended stay hotel.

Of course with winter so short lived here there really are not too many options to fully embrace the cold so I have to make due where I can.

The other day with temperatures in the low 40’s I was driving around town with the windows down and the radio cranked up enjoying the feel of the cold air on my face.

I am sure I got a few looks from people bundled up in their cars with their heaters cranked to “fry” but I figured I would enjoy the cold weather while I could.

This is also part of the reason why I never turn on my heater at home. I enjoy feeling a nice chill in the air and although I have never had it cold enough to see my breath inside the lack of heater use really gives my cats a luxurious winter coat.

Another fun tradition during the cold season for me is fire and ice cream.

For many years the Dairy Queen down the road from me has been a popular winter destination in addition to being a fun spot to cool off during the summer.

While some might think one would be crazy to enjoy ice cream the temperature of the outdoors, the dairy concoctions are joined by a fire pit in the center of the restaurant that makes the winter ice cream experience all the more enjoyable.

Eating ice cream by a roaring fire can make it melt a little faster than normal but it is so worth it in the end. Photo R. Anderson

Eating ice cream by a roaring fire can make it melt a little faster than normal but it is so worth it in the end.
Photo R. Anderson

Of course when I first saw the fire pit installed in the restaurant a few years back I thought that it was a crazy idea.

Since then I have spent many a lunch and dinner break next to the fire with my ice cream in hand and now consider it crazy not to have a fire pit inside a Dairy Queen.

I am of course not alone in my love of the fire pit and have found that it is the early bird that gets one of the primo seats by the fire.

For the most part I have been successful in securing a seat next to the flame but there have been several occasions where I have found myself on the outside looking in as the lucky few sat by the fire getting warmer by the second.

In a sort of musical chairs situation I have even started at one seat and moved closer to the fire as others would leave.

After all, as Jeff Probst would say, “Fire represents life,” or in this case warmth and ice cream.

Of course eating ice cream by the fire is tame compared to some extreme winter traditions that took place this week.

One such example of a somewhat crazy tradition was the annual polar bear swim in Scotland.

Last time I checked Scotland was cold in the winter.

Of course this did not seem to deter a few hundred Scottish citizens from taking an icy plunge in a river armed with only a bathing suit to keep them warm.

There were other variations of the polar plunge which included people wearing costumes for the swim but unless the costume was a Bering Sea survival suit as seen on the Deadliest Catch, the odds are the participants got a little cold when their mostly exposed flesh hit the water.

So with that perspective in mind suddenly eating ice cream by a roaring fire does not seem so crazy.

Of course were I in my bathing suit or dressed up like Spider Man while eating the ice cream that would be an entirely different story.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I am off to enjoy some ice cream by the fire before the weather transitions back to the “oh my word it is hot and humid” setting.

Copyright 2014 R. Anderson

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