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By Staff | Jan 31, 2014

During these cold winter days, we will hear someone say, after noticing their own or someone else’s cold hands, “Oh well, cold hands – warm heart.”

Now, wait a minute.

Does that mean warm hands – cold heart? Can’t a person have warm hands and a warm heart?

There must be someone with cold hands and a cold heart, although it wouldn’t be anyone I would want to know. So, “cold hands – warm heart” is a silly meaningless phrase of no use.

Speaking from personal experience, I can say that, “Cold feet – no sleep.”

Every year, as soon as we close the windows because of the cool fall temperatures, I put an additional small blanket on my side of the bed to cover my feet. As soon as my feet are warm, I am out for the night.

The blanket stays in place all winter until spring when the windows are opened because of human temperatures.

It’s a similar problem in my recliner. My feet are warm because they are always covered. Now the problem is my hands are cold.

Once I put my hands in my pockets and they are warm, I am on the verge of a serious nap. Ah-h-h-h. There’s a point to all this personal trivia.

My point is, do I fall asleep because my hands and feet are warm or because I have done something that creates a conditioned response?

All of us have certain habits we rely on for comfort. A situation does not feel right until certain things are in place.

Over time, with continued repetition, these habits become rituals.

My wife has a ritual that our family enjoys: having a few candles lit in the center of the table at meal time.

The candles signify warmth, hospitality and even intimacy that are enjoyed by everyone at the table.

When rituals take over, they can become superstitions or when extreme, a compulsive obsession and then we have gone too far.

I will leave the subject of compulsive obsessions to those who are trained in that area. I am not.

I do have fun watching people and their rituals. It helps if I know them well.

Do I have any rituals (other than the ones I just mentioned)? Of course, I do. My family knows them very well.

I like certain things in certain places such as the Parker pen (the clip looks like an arrow) in my shirt (usually red) pocket (left side if double breasted) or my Buck 112 jack knife in my right jeans pocket.

The left pocket is for my change, nothing else.

Like many farmers, I have certain caps I wear to town and certain caps for wearing when doing anything outside.

The go-to-town caps are missing that sweat and oil stain around the brim that you see on my everyday caps.

I have several watches I wear in rotation and they are all accurate to within 30 seconds of the actual time, because I set them to the exact time from clocks that set to WWV, (the call sign of the United States National Institute of Standards and Technology’s shortwave radio station in Fort Collins, Colo.), the government standard, when I put them on my wrist.

Those are the rituals I know. My family probably knows other rituals of mine that I am not aware of.

Does all this mean anything? I am not sure, except that we are creatures of habit and those habits can be both endearing and annoying to those around us depending on the moment.

Besides, who likes cold feet?

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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