Laughing in the Face of Winter (2024)

Laugh in the Face of Winter 2024

We only got an inch of snow as Winter Storm Gerri blew through last night. But the cold air with this weather system is something special. Wind chills have been well below 0° Fahrenheit, to the point that even the warmest part of the day feels like -5° — and any exposed flesh starts to painfully throb within seconds of exposure to the wind (I notice it especially on my eyebrows, for some reason). And when the arrival of the frigid temperatures just so happened to coincide with a free afternoon, with Olivia on her last day of Winter Break before moving back into the residence halls at Kent State University, we knew what we had to do. We had to laugh in the face of winter.

Laugh in the Face of Winter 2024

This is a tradition that we’ve observed regularly, since at least 2018, but not quite every winter. Last year, we didn’t have a weekend wintry enough with schedules coordinated enough — considering the fact that two of my kids now spend most of their winters living outside of our home. Still, we’ve had some pretty epic adventures through the years: going to the beach… hiking in the National Park… playing basketball and frisbee and baseball… sunbathing… All in the most severe winter weather conditions. We look for the meanest, harshest, coldest, snowiest day that Northeast Ohio can conjure up… and then we try to pretend that it’s a lovely summer day. To spite the snow and ice. To Laugh in the Face of Winter.

Laugh in the Face of Winter 2024

Today, Olivia, Cor and I decided to go for a hike in Frohring Meadows, which I consider to be one of the Top Ten Hikes in Geauga County, and which I associate with late-summer wildflower and this particular configuration of the family. Afterwards, we went to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream in Chagrin Falls and enjoyed some delicious waffle cones with artisanally-crafted ice creams.

Laugh in the Face of Winter 2024

And finally, on our way back to Kent from Chagrin Falls, we stopped at the “famous tourist attraction” of Ohio’s “Four Corners.” It’s less well-known than the spot within the territory of the Navajo Nation, where the boundaries of the states of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona come together in a single spot (which the three of us got to visit, together with Marci, in 2019). But still, it’s a pretty unique phenomenon. Even with 88 counties in Ohio (compared to the USA’s 50 states), there are only two places in the whole state where four counties come together in a single spot. And one of them is where Cuyahoga County, Geauga County, Portage County, and Summit County come together.

Laugh in the Face of Winter 2024

It’s in a random residential neighborhood. Little trafficked. Totally unmarked, except for a sign on one corner welcoming people to the city limits of Aurora. But we used the Gaia app on my phone to pinpoint the location, and then we each took turns posing for pictures with one limb resting in each county. It was silly, but also pretty fun. We find it better than just staying inside and waiting for the weather to change. We think it’s fun. And funny. Because we laugh in the face of winter!

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