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Super duper (cold and other) words

Today, I started reading The Watsons Go to Birmingham- 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis. I haven’t gotten past the first chapter, but it is wonderful so far. The story and characters are engaging, the imagery plays across the page, and the cadence of the language feels like home to me. While it is obvious the book with deal with serious things- a Black family traveling to Birmingham, AL in 1963 is going to encounter some major and minor difficulties- the book also is funny. I would tell you more, but I’m only a wee bit of the way into it.

It was one of those super-duper-cold Saturdays. One of those days that when you breathed out your breath kind of hung frozen in the air like a hunk of smoke and you could walk along and look exactly like a train blowing out big, fat, white puffs of smoke . . . It was so cold that if you spit, the slob would be an ice cube before it hit the ground.
The Watsons Go to Birmingham- 1963, Christopher Paul Curtis p. 1

I thought of the book as I sat down to write for the 18th day in a row because it is cold in my house. I was cold and wanted nothing more than to cuddle under the covers with my spouse and the cats, and so I was reminded of the start of Curtis’s story which has the main character Kenny huddling under covers with his family- Joetta, Momma, Dad, and Byron- trying to keep warm. Here, it is 51 degrees F, which I know is not cold to most of y’all, but it is cold to me, and the temperature will continue to drop, and when you don’t have central heat, 30’s and 40’s makes for a cold house, ice box cold. There, there is no exact mention of the temperature, but it is Michigan cold. Here, the house took a chill over the past few nights, which have dropped down into the 30’s, and it can’t shake it. I sit at my table bundled up, my hands are cold, I just want to go to bed. There, the “furnace was banging” but “it still felt like Jack Frost had moved in with us.”

And now, I will leave you with that lovely image and go huddle under the covers and try to warm up.

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