Those ain’t chicken feathers

So, there I was, arriving back home after a quick trip to the store.

Barely a week previously, I had spent a pleasant evening on the back porch, sipping on my favorite recreational beverage while keeping watch over several leg quarters as they transformed from raw chicken into something delicious and nutritious. Ah, the joys of grilling in balmy weather.

It was that memory that came to me, as I applied the parking brake, and caught movement out of the corner of my eye.

A tiny white speck, it seemed, was drifting past the window on the driver’s side. It then gently settled on the hood of the car.

It’s been windy, I thought. Little petals of this and that have been everywhere. I wondered which tree belonged to that tiny piece of flower.

And then that tiny piece of flower melted before my eyes. Obviously this was not normal behavior for a flower fragment. So, reason told me, it had to be something else.

On the way from the car to the house, I noticed a few more of those tiny featherlike objects. I got inside and announced it:

“It’s snowing” I told Alice.

This was unexpected. There had been nothing in any of the forecasts about snow. Not this time. And even though it was too warm for the stuff to stick, it was still disturbing. What else might be coming that the Weather Channel and didn’t tell us?

I recall, years ago, a weather man in Memphis telling viewers that someone had called the station to inform him that he had just shoveled six inches of “partly cloudy” off his driveway. But that was way back when. Weather forecasting has improved, right?

Well, the so-called improved forecast for this day was “cloudy.” This gave me pause.

Of course, the temperature wasn’t supposed to get low enough for there to be any accumulation. Then again, there wasn’t supposed to be any snow, either.

Well, it continued to snow. In fact, at one point it was coming down rather briskly. During our play practice at the community college, one of the cast members announced that it was still snowing. She seemed to like the idea. Go figure. But as the Baby Sister says (and Grandma used to say, and probably a lot of other folks have said), “Those ain’t chicken feathers.”

True, I do a lot of grilling in cold weather. I’ve even said that I like it, because there aren’t any bugs. That said, though, my creaky joints were beginning to accept, even enjoy, warmer-than-usual weather. While my mind was telling me that a cold winter would probably have its benefits, I couldn’t help but sigh with pleasure on the occasions when I walked outside into a spring-like day. One’s mind and one’s emotions are sometimes at odds.

As I sit writing this column, the snow has stopped, and there is no trace of it on the ground. Only the morning will tell what the weather will bring, and this column will be turned in before then. By the time this column is read, we’ll know. I’m betting there won’t be anything. But I’m not giving anyone a chance to take that bet. By Thursday, it’ll be too late, anyway.

  • ••••

I’m not alone. For the last couple of years, it’s seemed to me that some headlights are just too doggone bright. Apparently I’m not the only person to think this.

I’ve seen commercials on TV in which this or that car manufacturer brags about how bright its lights are. Right. So bright it can blind oncoming drivers, although they fail to mention that. I have read some articles on that very subject.

Eventually something may have to be done about it. I admit, I have cataracts which probably will require surgery someday, and cataracts do not react well to headlights. But too bright is still too bright.

  • ••••

I owe readers an apology, about an error I let get through in last week’s column.

While it’s true that I was victimized by a spell check feature badly in need of an exorcism, I admit that’s really a weak excuse. It was something I should have caught, but didn’t.

In last week’s column, I made reference, or meant to make reference, to Milton Berle, an actor and comic who was a gigantic TV star in the late 1940s and early 1950s. However, after spell check got through with his name, it was “Milton Belle.” I missed it and let it get through. My bad. Apologies to readers, and to Mr. Berle’s memory.

A reminder to us all, that spell check is far from perfect.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: David Nichol is a freelance writer who recently retired from the Times-Herald. He can be contacted at