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Phillips: Come on, spring!
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One of the many perks of living in the Midlands of South Carolina is our moderate climate. OK, maybe it hasn’t felt so moderate the past few weeks, but think about New York, Boston, Minnesota, Michigan and other northern areas. Now, they know what cold really is!

I moved back to South Carolina from the southernmost area of Florida in 2011. There are times now and then when I miss that temperate area, but the truth is it gets cool even in The Sunshine State. Now, cool is a relative term. When it gets below 50 degrees in the Florida Keys, people think they’ll freeze to death. A great many homes do not even have heating systems, they would be so seldom used, but people put on their “winter” clothes and crank up the space heaters and complain about how cold it is. But it never lasts very long.

And the good news is, it doesn’t really last very long around here, either. There’s something kind of refreshing about a chill in the air or a cool breeze. After a hot and humid summer and early fall, we welcome the change. But when freezing rain coats the tree limbs and power lines to the point electric service goes out, there’s nothing refreshing about that at all.

That’s just what happened two-and-a-half weeks ago, mostly in the northern and northeastern sections of Kershaw County, i.e. Westville, Cassatt, Bethune, Mt. Pisgah, etc. I live in the affected area and, unfortunately, my road was one of the last to get the service restored. It’s somewhat amazing how we take such luxuries for granted. My place is 100 percent electric, so I was quite literally in the dark and left out in the cold. Not fun.

As someone who appreciates comfort, I found refuge in an area motel that had electricity. Thankfully, it was for only one night and I considered it a bit of an adventure, although it was money I would rather have spent on something else. My electric service was restored about 36 hours after it went out and my “hardship” was over.

Imagine the workers who have to go out in that bitter cold to restore our power. I have a neighbor who works for the city of Camden, usually as a mechanic keeping the city’s vehicles and other motorized equipment running, but in emergencies like power outages, he has to bundle up and go out to help. I thank him and all those like him. They got our electricity restored relatively quickly.

But in many areas of the U.S., ice storms cause power to go out for at least several days at a time. Hopefully, those folks know the possibility and have other ways to heat and light their homes, like with gas furnaces, wood stoves or fireplaces.

So, now we’re well into the first week of March and it makes me optimistic the worst is behind us for now and milder, spring-like weather should be coming along soon. We have even had a couple of nicer days in the last week to give us hope … or maybe just to tease us.

I remember breaking a bit of a sweat walking around last year’s Carolina Cup, and the 2015 version is barely three weeks away, so there’s even more cause for high hopes. We really are fortunate to live in an area that has a change of seasons and although the summers can be hot and humid and the winters can be somewhat oppressive, we can be sure summer gives way to autumn and winter gives way to spring.

As I have written about other subjects, we all too often take for granted what we have and our attractive climate is one of those things for many of us, including myself. Be sure to take advantage of nicer weather when it comes along. Go to a park, go to the lake or the riverbank, just get outside and do something in the sunshine in that period between the cold and the unbearably hot.

Come on, spring. We’re ready for you.