Now that the winter is really finally over…again…and most of you are hurrying about to get your yards cleaned up and looking good so they can be ready for the fall raking season which is only a few months away, it is time to look forward to that blip in time we have come to call summer.
I don’t mean to sound negative, it just comes out that way on its own, but it does seem lately that the winters are getting longer and there are only short breaks of warm weather in between. But, of course, I am only writing this now in the middle of April after another cold spell and snowfall so my opinion is a bit jaded, but still it comes from years of experience.
F.A.T.S.O. (Flatlanders Adjusting To Solitary Oblivion) the winter support group for new transplants to New Hampshire which I started with my friend, Vinnie, years ago is holding its final get-together this weekend. It has been a long season and we acquired many new members; who we hopefully have helped to get through this long season and will remember us in kind with a few donations.
Once the weather turns warmer, F.A.T.S.O members have a tendency to turn their backs on us faster than a smiling candidate the day after the New Hampshire Presidential Primary.
In order to try and keep that connection with members as long as possible, we hold our “Welcome Spring” get together towards the end of April.
It is our last meeting of the year and is usually a joyous occasion as we celebrate the new season.
Of course, not many members attend since now that it is warm again they’d rather be doing anything else than sit in a damp Grange Hall with Vinnie and me when it is seventy degrees outside.
We anticipate this every year and still stock up on appetizers, cold cuts, potato salad, soft drinks and desserts that we usually end up taking home with us later but we can claim it all as a tax write-off. (If we are lucky we will have enough to get us through to the top three finalists on American Idol.)
For the few F.A.T.S.O. members who still show up because they are either grateful for all we did for them this past winter or maybe just there to take advantage of the free food and other things that are offered (we usually wait to present their free “I’m A F.A.T.S.O.” sweatshirt at this event) we do have a Power Point presentation of ideas and tips that they should consider to get through the spring and summer. Shortcuts and tricks we have learned over the years to save ourselves from over-exerting with hours of tedious work outside that will just get ruined in a few months by the next winter which is really just right around the corner anyway.
We try to get the message through, while they gorge on artichoke dip and wrap slices of Mocha Chocolate Cake in napkins to bring back to their friends who couldn’t make it (we do keep a careful eye on the sweatshirts), that they shouldn’t be lulled into a false sense of security and that there are things to be prepared for in the warm weather as well.
After doing this for a few years, to a smaller and smaller audience, we thought that maybe I should write about some of these tips in my column for those of you who couldn’t or wouldn’t attend as well as for those who missed something important while making sure that Mocha Chocolate Cake didn’t get squished against the baggie of saltines in their pocket.
But that would defeat the whole purpose of these middle spring, tax write-off gatherings we plan so I really won’t be sharing any of them with you this week.
One thing I can tell you for sure though is that, just like every other awakening of the season, the thought of F.A.T.S.O is going to fade from everyone’s mind until they need it again. They will go about their business of the summer and fall, lulled, once again, into that false sense of security and then…BAM!!..winter will reappear with a vengeance and they will all come crawling back.
So, if you are a member of F.A.T.S.O, you may want to think about attending this weekend’s blowout.
I know you probably won’t come anyway, but in order to claim the full deduction on next year’s taxes, I have to prove that you were invited which is what the purpose of this column is all about.
See you next week or in December.