ABCs of Door County Winter

‘B’ is not for barbecue.

The holidays are over, warm weather is months away, and some days are so cold you could get frostbite starting your car. I want to honor those of you toughing it out with a kindergarten-style ode, adapted from this Absolute Michigan post.

The ABCs of Door County winter:

A is for affective, as in “seasonal affective disorder,” as in “seasonal depression,” which by now you’re probably familiar with.

B is for broomball. B is also for the bruises.

C is for calling ahead. In the dead of winter it’s a good idea to call before going to the grocery store, a restaurant, or anywhere, to make sure it’s open before driving all the way there.

D is for defrosting your windshield, and the extra 15 minutes it gets to take anywhere in the winter since you have to start the car, scrape off the ice and drive slow through the slush.

E is for emptiness. This isn’t meant to sound negative. It’s actually really nice to be the only one in line at the Piggly Wiggly, the only one in a state park or the only one in a coffee shop.

F is for fever. Be it cabin fever or actual fever, you’re likely to get struck by at least one.

G is for games, like Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, cribbage and Left Right Center. You play a lot of games lately.

H is for the hobbies you pick up over the winter. Last year you learned to knit. This year you’re learning to speak Swahili. Next year you’ll tile your bathroom floor in a traditional barn quilt pattern. Thank you winter for the well-rounded list of interests on my OK Cupid profile.

I is for ice. Ice on the roads, ice on your windshield. No ice in my glass, please.

J is for juxtaposition. Take a picture of the Not Licked Yet parking lot in July and compare it to the parking lot in January. Whatever you think about custard or the pros and cons of a seasonal economy, the comparison is notable.

K is for kiwi, which mercifully is in season in January.

L is for library. Even with their limited winter hours, Door County libraries are essential for those of us toughing it through the winter. They provide social interaction, a chance to get out of the house and there’s a great inter-library system that lets you get stuff from around the state. They also host lots of events for kids and adults.

M is for movies, and watching a heck of a lot of them. Luckily, thanks to local film festivals and other cinema events, you do not have to do this alone.

N is for north, like “up north.” This is vacationland, and it should be embraced.

O is for obsession. You wouldn’t believe how obsessing over a series of books, movies or TV shows helps pass the time.

P is for the Packers, and their ability to unite us in the darkest time of year.

Q is for questioning – questioning your decision to stick it out all season, questioning the gods’ decision to make the sky permanently gray, etc.

R is for regular. By February, you’ll probably be a regular somewhere, with your regular order, at your regular time, in your regular seat.

S is for shower’oke. It’s the Peninsula Pub’s weekly stand-by, where you can sing karaoke, and even do it while standing in a shower. Sure, it’s embarrassing to scat your way through the end of “Me and Bobby McGee” in front of half the county, but humiliation breaks up the monotony.

T is for toughness. Don’t fool yourself, you are tough. You intentionally take shots of bitters. You tailgate in sub-zero weather. You swim in Lake Michigan on New Year’s Day. You can do anything.

U is for underwear. Long underwear, that is. Fashion be damned north of the 44th parallel.

V is for vitamin D, and the things your body does when you don’t get enough.

W is for wimpy burgers, and bar food in general. It may not be healthy, but it’s consistent, comforting and available.

X is for the X’s you use to cross things off your bucket list, like “join a community choir,” “memorize all of Shakespeare’s sonnets” or “watch every episode of Third Rock from the Sun.”

Y is for YMCA. (Also see “R is for regular.”) When you’re in need of physical activity and can’t get yourself to bear the cold, you hop on an elliptical at the YMCA and run into everyone you’ve ever met in the locker room.

Z is for Zorba Paster on Your Health, and the rest of the weekend Public Radio lineup. The hosts of Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me, Whaddaya Know, Zorba Paster, A Prairie Home Companion, Car Talk and This American Life feel like family after all the time we’ve spent together.