Sunday, March 21, 2010

I've just seen my legs

  This all has to do with blue jeans, and white legs.

   I didn't wear blue jeans much in 25 years in Texas. Most of the time during recreational hours, I wore shorts.

   If it was long-pants weather — and, let's face it; with global changes, many Texans had forgotten what a winter feels like until this one came along — I would strap on sweat pants. My jeans hung forlornly in the closet, trappings of another life in a colder place.

   Then, this fall we moved back to my home state of Colorado. Suddenly, it was blue jeans weather, every day. The brown cargo shorts worn so faithfully at another latitude leeched from the top of my fun-wear drawer into its depths, to mingle among the free T-shirts from the blood bank.

   I also took to wearing pajama bottoms around the house when the blue jeans were getting a rest. No more open-air gym shorts from high school: too open-air for Rocky Mountain air.

   And so I was completely unprepared for the shock this week when, going out on a beautiful almost-spring day to bat around tennis balls with my son, I saw my legs.

   Yes, they were white. White as toothpaste out of the tube. White as a Republican caucus.

   My legs had come to Colorado caramelized like those of any good Texan. They are now vanilla almond bark.  

   I was reminded of days of yore when summer would arrive and we Colorado kids would strive to avoid sock tan lines on our too-pale legs when we bared them for summer sun. So, we choose not to wear socks.

   With the almost year-round solar exposure of their legs, Texans have no such concern. I certainly didn't while living there.

  All of this might sound like a complaint about the weather conditions I now experience. It is not. First off, I enjoy wearing jeans again. I also enjoy snow, something I don't recall doing back in that other life in Colorado. Key to enjoying snow and cold is good shoes. I lived in Colorado for almost 30 years without good shoes. Now I have great shoes: great waffle-stomping boots. They insulate my toes in all conditions.

    Snow has much to offer in ways I did not appreciate as a younger man. It causes vehicles to move more slowly. It enforces solemnity across the land. It is soft and white. It delivers needed moisture. It insulates and waters lawns.

     A dimension to this newfound appreciation for frozen precipitation is that back when I hated it, I was a single man who put a premium on mobility, of which snow is an enemy unless you're on slats. Now I'm a married man with a great family, and I choose domestic tranquility over my mobility.

    March in Texas, I assert from experience, is the best month of the year. It is mild and warm. It is green. The wildflowers start to spring to life.

    The March I remember in Colorado was the worst month of the year. It was cold and windy. Statistically, it is the snowiest month here.

    The day after our tennis outing and the baring of my legs, the TV announced a winter storm warning. Sure enough, an icy front slid our way down through Wyoming. Right now, it's white out there, as white as my legs.

    I can handle both gladly. But the next time I'm in Texas, I'm wearing sweat pants.

    John Young writes for Cox Newspapers. Email:




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