Monday, April 14, 2008

A blackberry winter?

Some sense of normalcy has returned to the world of Bone over the past week. Well, normal for me anyway. Things have been good. Dad is doing well. We talk more often now. And when I went to visit him last week for the first time since he got out of the hospital, he sent me home with a guitar, amp, tuner, and chord charts. This oughta be fun, as soon as I figure out how to work the amp. Two knobs, two holes, a switch, and a light--how hard can it be?

In other good news, I won my NCAA tournament pool, which is the first time I can ever remember that happening. Go Jayhawks! I'm pretty sure that is the first time I've ever made that statement as well.

I also think I may have become addicted to golf. I played three times last week. My "balls lost" count was zero, one, and I-don't-want-to-talk-about-it. Someone remarked it was better that I be addicted to golf than crack. I suppose that's true, though I can't imagine crack being much more expensive.

The warm bogey-filled days of yester-week have given way to arctic-like temperatures this week. Lows were in the 30's last night and expected to be there again the next two nights. At first, I figured this was most likely the onset of the next ice age. Then I realized if that were the case, we would have seen massive glacier progression by now. How stupid of me.

I began to wonder if this is what the old folks call Blackberry Winter. I wasn't sure, so I called the oldest person I know. I said, "Dad, is this Blackberry Winter?" He said, "I don't know if it's blackberry winter or dogwood winter. Whatever it is, it's cold."

Moments like this are why it's so very important to talk to our elders, learn from their experiences, and listen to their stories. Now I will be able to someday pass that wisdom along to my son or daughter, or nursing home attendant.

Through further research, I have determined that this is more likely Dogwood Winter. Both Dogwood Winter and Blackberry Winter are names given to a period of cold, contrary weather, usually lasting a couple of days and following a lengthy warm spell. Dogwood Winter was so named as it coincides with the blooming of the dogwood trees in mid-April. And likewise, Blackberry Winter is a cold snap occurring when the blackberry bushes are in bloom in mid-May.

I don't know how widespread these terms are, but it would be interesting to know how many of you are familiar with one or both of these terms. I've heard the phrase Blackberry Winter all my life. Coincidentally, or not so, I had some blackberry cobbler for dessert last night. I'm not sure what all of this means, but in the wise words of he who reared me, "Whatever it is, it's cold."

So what have we learned? For one thing, there is no Wikipedia entry for "blackberry winter." You have no idea the kind of existential conflict this creates within my brain. Also, adages that have been around a hundred years have been around a hundred years for a reason.

To summarize the rest, I have prepared a helpful chart:

Blackberry = nutritious fruit; also a wireless handheld device
Cobbler = delicious dessert
Blackberry cobbler = good
Blackberry winter = cold
Cold blackberry cobbler = bad
Winter cobbler = undefined, but I'm intrigued

I guess the bottom line is to not put away your long sleeves quite yet. Dogwood Winter is here. And apparently, Blackberry Winter is still to come. Personally, I prefer the gorgeous weather of last week, which I do hereby officially name Bradford Pear Summer.

"Love and seasons never stay. Bitter winds are sure to follow. Now there's no doubt it's gonna be cold out tonight. I've shivered all day..."


  1. I like the sounds of this "Bradford Pear Summer."

    Bring it on.

  2. guitar is fun. i think you'll enjoy. sometimes i wish i had started playing back when my dad wanted me to. But, I didn't.

    shayla wants to know if she can go golfing with you next time.

    just don't hit my car when i'm driving by. are you sure that wasn't you the other day aiming at my car?

    good to hear your dad is better.


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  4. Yesterday and today were nice sunny and warm...but the cold front is coming. I wanna move to Equador!!! it's too cold here. bur bur bur!

    Love blackberry cobbler...I remember fondly picking blackberries as a child and getting the snot scratched out of me!!!

  5. Have you figured out the amp yet?

    Read tonight that Alabama is the number 1 state for golf in America--have all these golf stats I will have to share with you

    Find this hysterical
    Moments like this are why it's so very important to talk to our elders, learn from their experiences, and listen to their stories. Now I will be able to someday pass that wisdom along to my son or daughter, or nursing home attendant.

    Oh I charge a lot more than $75 an hour--your comment :)

  6. The only term I'm familiar with is "It's fricking freezing." That phrase roots all the way back to Austin Powers.

  7. Sizzle - Thank you, thank you. I really think this could catch on. Then someday we'll all be telling our kids we have no idea when Bradford Pear Summer is.

    Java Boo Boo - I just hope the callouses won't interfere with my burgeoning golf career.

    Does Shayla really golf? You should try it yourself. It's fun.

    Renee - I have similar fond memories. Getting scratched up in the briars, stung by wasps, shocked by an electric fence. Ahh, childhood.

    Pia - Really? We're #1? Now I've automatically begun to analyze the how's and why's of that statistic.

    Thanks. And I figured you were more expensive, but I really didn't know how much they charged these days.

    Charlotta - Frickin' hilarious :)

  8. Yea, I don't think we use terms like that up here in the north. I'm not familiar with them anyway. Onion snow, and Indian Summer, yep, I know them.

    Spring is always a tease. Really warm days then, NOPE, just kidding! Can't wait for the full warm days and nights either. I think I'd like to learn to golf.

  9. Winter cobbler 1 & 2: delicious frozen dessert - or- dessert shared between two people, one of whom is giving the other the cold shoulder

    Winter cobbler 3: the Snowbird who repairs thongs in Florida - at the beach (lame, I know)

    Winter cobbler 4: a supposed writer who keeps pounding away trying to make definitions that won't turn the reader cold (based on archaic definition of cobbler: a person who is clumsy at work as in a bungler-- ) No, not you!

    It is all your fault, you know. You prompted it. Now start writing the Wikipedia article for "blackberry winter."

  10. You know, I've lived all the US and some other foreign countries and I've never heard the terms "Blackberry or Dogwood Winter."

    L.A. had the same weather issues. It was hella hot this weekend and now it's going back to temps in the low-to-mid 70s.

  11. Glad to hear Bone-Normal is back :) (And that your Dad's doing well: that's super!)

    The warm bogey-filled days of yester-week have given way to arctic-like temperatures this week.

    Um, please define for this Northern girl, what "arctic-like" temps are? Would those happen to be something akin to what I consider to be beautiful weather... like, oh 45? :) I'm somehow guessing they are...

    Now I will be able to someday pass that wisdom along to my son or daughter, or nursing home attendant.

    ROFL One of your all-time funniest lines. Good stuff. But just so you know, flash your nursing home attendant a bit, and she'll allow you to ramble on about anything you want ;)

    (She will anyway: it's what they get paid to do. Well, that and wipe your butt.)

    I've never heard of Blackberry Winter before... guess that's just 'cuz I live through a real winter up here... O:) I'll be excited to see the Wikipedia entry when you're done with it though (great idea, Marcia!!!).

  12. Blackberries are my favorite. But I've never heard of blackberry winter. I've heard of "cold as fuck" winters, but not blackberry winters.

    Am I the only one who giggles every time you talk about your balls? I really have to grow up.

  13. Carnealian - I think they're along the lines of Indian Summer.

    Golf is fun. Go golf!

    Marcia - Haha. I really like the snowbird who repairs thongs in Florida. And I especially love the idea of me composing the Wikipedia entry for "Blackberry Winter." How have I not already thought of this?? Thanks, Marcia :)

    Xinh - OK, I'm finding it difficult to feel bad for you and your mid-70's at this moment :)

    TC - Well as I mentioned, lows in the 30's three nights in a row. And the high Monday was only like 49! Brrrrrr.

    Thanks. I'll let you know how that goes, as I'm sure I'll be blogging from the nursing home someday.

    Scarlet Hip - I don't know if you're the only one, but I'll try and throw in my "balls lost" count a little more frequently, just for you.

  14. I have never heard of either phrase. I even grew up in Arkansas. Ok, so I didn't GROW UP in Arkansas, but I basically did. Anyway, new phrases to me. Thanks for educating me once again Mr. Bone.

  15. my crazy grandmother just said this to me last week... I figured it was just her being crazy, but I guess not :)

  16. Never heard of either a blackberry or dogwood winter, must be a 'bama thing. When it's only getting down to the 30s, like this week, I'm no longer wearing jackets and have switched to short-sleeves. Too bad my shirt isn't blackberry stained, some blackberry cobbler would taste good as it's lunch time.

  17. I am so much wiser in terms of weather labels, having come to read here.
    I know now that if wikipedia fails me it is likely Bone will have an answer. I, myself, am a lover of cobbler, not so fond of the current weather patterns

  18. I have never heard of either a blackberry winter or a dogwood winter, but I like the sound of both.

    And a winter cobbler sounds good. I imagine it's savoury - like a winter stew - and maybe involves cheese.

  19. I HAVE heard of dogwood winter, but never blackberry winter. And if 30 is the low at night there, I'm coming for a visit.

  20. Well, I haven't heard of Blackberry OR Dogwood Winter, but then again I live in Southern California. We have the Santa Anas, those awful, hot, dry winds that are so generous as to give us wildfires every few years. I lived in Boston for six months, during what they call a Nor'easter, or something like that, a "wicked" winter storm. My partner is from Boston and tells me all about them...and you're right, it's key to get as much info from our elders as possible. I'm glad your dad is doing better.

  21. Um, never heard of either term. Then again, I live in Cali and we don't have winter.

  22. LOL. I've never heard of either of those terms. But I did have a piece of blackberry pie last night. But it was cold. And store bought. So it was not good.