They say that out of all the senses, smell is the most linked to memory. The smell of Grandma’s cooking when you step barefoot on her hard wooden floor, the smell of freshly washed sheets as you lay your head on your pillow, or even the smell of the lubricant that makes a rifle operate smoothly and effectively. You think that those memories are just foggy remnants in your mind, but then you walk in that old house, smell the same laundry detergent, or get a whiff of CLP at a range years later — the memories come flooding back. What once was a murky, distant fragment becomes real again.
The same could be said about feeling the cold.
One of the greatest portrayals of war on the screen was the HBO series “Band of Brothers.” Each episode is bookended by interviews with actual veterans of the soldiers that were on the ground in WWII. Arguably the most compelling episodes of that show are the Bastogne episodes, and in one such interview one of the men says, “Even today, on a real cold night, we go to bed and my wife will tell you that the first thing I’ll say is that I’m glad I’m not in Bastogne.”
I don’t pretend to have fought in a war that was in any way comparable to WWII, and the misery of Bastogne undoubtedly outweighs the misery of any experiences I can possibly imagine. With that said, the cold front that has been sweeping the nation has hit Florida as well, with an unusual, drastic drop in temperature. I was recently in upstate New York, and though it was far colder there, I was expecting it and that seems to have tempered the effects to a certain degree. Cold as hell? Roger that, no problem — big coat, heavy pants and a beanie and we’re good to go. Florida? Not so low, but unexpected, which caught me off guard.