The weather outside was frightful

We had the annual Christmas gala Saturday. As with a number of other events the community has hosted in the past year, we tangled once again with Mother Nature. I'm not sure why that has happened so often in 2007.

Spring snows and cold made a mess of the annual Easter egg hunt and ruined budding trees and shrubs all over town. Later, rain was a bigger pain for the eastern part of the state, but for the first time in memory it also postponed our July Fourth celebration. The park was hit again when the only measurable precipitation in September nearly washed out homecoming festivities and the 30-year reunion celebration for the 1977 football team that played in the 2-A state contest. But winter weather really hasn't been a factor around here for years.

I grew up in northern Iowa and Illinois and never knew how moderate winter weather could be until I graduated from high school and attended the "Mount Hoadie School for Girls" in Missouri. Since then I have stayed away from the northern regions between October and late April — blech!

I've made certain that I've never lived in a community that celebrates its heritage with ice sculptures or snow queens. I hate the cold. I am not fond of snow, sleet, or ice. I never met a snowman I liked and I no longer make snow angels because I am so old I can't get up off the ground. Years ago I used to skate and although I don't remember, I must have fallen down from time to time. Today I would break something. I never skied. I never wanted to. Skiing didn't look like fun; it only looked cold. I will never go back to live in the north . . . or even the close-to-north. Never.

So in my most humble opinion, a 50-degree day Saturday would have made a perfect Christmas promotion day for Peabody. But what do I know? It was wet and cold and sleeting and snowy and cold and nasty and icy and just plain cold! I felt sorry for the Christmas committee. So did just about everyone else. That group had spent an inordinate amount of time planning a big day for the community and didn't deserve to be on the punishment end of Mother Nature's quirkiness!

The members had lined up an appropriate-era color guard from Fort Riley, free buggy rides for one and all, and the Kansas State Historical Society boot exhibit. Santa would be arriving in an old-fashioned sleigh. Crafts for kids included leatherwork and making prairie rag dolls. Ovens all over town were in overdrive as cookies were baked and decorated for the cookie walk. Clever people were lined up to decorate tables and boots. The Downtown Roping Showdown, a parade, Santa, and boot scootin' bowling were supposed to keep people entertained before and after the chuckwagon supper.

The weather was awful and had the potential to spoil a year's worth of planning. But somehow that just didn't happen. Even with crummy roads and sloppy stuff under foot, Peabody people came out to support the hard work done by the Main Street committee.

It was actually a more impressive turn-out than it would have been if the weather had been that wonderful 50-degree day for which we were all hoping! It would not have taken an effort to be out on a day like that. It DID take some effort to leave a warm La-Z-Boy in front of the television and go to Marshall's warehouse to watch city administrator Jeff Benbrook and a dozen businessmen and employees cut loose in the steer-roping contest. It DID take some effort to scrape the windshield and head into town to attend the muffin bar and the cookie walk, shop in local stores, and attend a craft class or two. It DID take some effort to venture off to the soup luncheon at the Morgan House or the chuckwagon supper at the senior center. Several couples and families even fought their way in from out in the country to participate.

There were respectable numbers at the events that were held and everyone seemed to have a good time. How terrific that so many of you made the effort!

Everyone was pretty down when the decision was made to cancel the parade. Having all of you make the best of a crummy weather pattern by having a good time anyway was another of those "Peabody moment" things. It was enough to make even me appreciate the day's chill factor and the turn-out we had because of it all.

And you get my vote for best cold weather festival any old day.