7 January 2016 – Thursday Featuring Margaret Reisch Downing

A Snowball’s Chance in San Felipe?

By Margaret Reisch Downing

Margaret R. Downing with Rex


Winter is the season in which people try to keep the house as warm as it was in the summer, when they complained about the heat.” ~ Author Unknown


It’s cold!


I seriously doubt that any of San Felipe’s snowbirds were dreaming of a White Christmas last month. Otherwise, why would so many North Americans be living on the east side of the Baja peninsula?


So it’s been a surprise that the temperatures have dropped so low around here. In the past few weeks, just about everybody I’ve run into in the South Campos has complained about cold houses, cold noses and cold toes.


Of course no one suffers more than San Diegans once the temperature there plummets to 60 degrees. The scarves and ski hats come out, and very embarrassed looking dogs, wearing handmade sweaters and matching booties, lower their eyes to the sidewalk during brisk morning walks. When it snows in the mountains, families take day trips to Julian and Mt. Laguna, and return to the city with snow piled on their car hoods as a badge of honor. As a native East Coaster, I never have really understood why people visit the snow on purpose! San Diegans don’t even know how to drive in the rain, do you hear me?


My daughter, born and raised in San Diego, applied to a number of colleges in New York. Like many of her peers, she wanted to experience the change of seasons. I’ll show you change of seasons! I was hoping that we could arrange a tour of prospective schools during a blizzard and simultaneous garbage strike, but the timing was never right. (She did come to her senses, and remained in California.)


My family lived in the Panama Canal Zone around the time President Eisenhower had his heart attack. There are two seasons in Panama: “Hot and Very Rainy” and “Hot and Very Very Rainy”. Our school’s principal decided to show children who had either never seen or remembered snow what they’d been missing. So she emptied several ice trays into a bowl, mushing the contents into a big snowball. We lined up by grade, youngest first, then one by one, filed through her office to see the snow! This teaching technique is now called “enriching comprehension with visualization”. We second graders heard that by the time the fourth graders went through, the snowball had melted.



Anyway, it really has been nippy in Baja. Rex and I turned on the house heat for the first time in two years last week. I’ve been wearing a heavy sweater around just because I can, secure in the knowledge that we are absolutely positively never going to have a blizzard here. Or a garbage strike. Or need to install storm windows. Or throw snowballs. The weather will warm up soon enough, and we will complain about the heat.




2 Responses to “7 January 2016 – Thursday Featuring Margaret Reisch Downing”
  1. carolyn richardson

    Margaret, I love your wit! Love the visual of the dog in his ‘coat’ with downcast eyes! I’ve never seen a ‘dressed’ dog that looks pleased with the idea of wearing anything other than a warm fur coat! Having just returned from the bitter cold, cold to the bones weather of Northern California, I am Thoroughly enjoying this weather in San Felipe! By comparison, I’m now back in the ‘tropics’! Thanks for a good read, and memories of what it is Really like, living in snow and truly cold conditions (Durango, CO) and no longer enduring that!

    • Margaret Reish Downing

      Thanks, Carolyn!

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