Ciao! The vagaries of weather in Naples

BILL KLAUBER

Cold today and hot tamale!

So goes the old expression about the vagaries of weather. And no where or no way has that been more true than here in Naples, especially in the past few weeks.

Of course the extremes have not been as bone chilling as in the north or as sultry as in areas even further south, but temperature ranges from 33 degrees to 80 degrees within a few days is a bit abnormal — even for Naples.

When one of our daughters came to spend a few days with us in mid-December she understandably filled her luggage with clothes for a warmer climate.

But the temperatures that greeted her were more suited to the northeast from where she came than to the southwest. It was almost as though she filled her bags with her hometown weather as well as her clothes.

And those clothes turned out to be inadequate as temps plummeted with her arrival. Never once during her five-day stay was she able to put on a bathing suit in which she had expected to strut the beach or even the shorts that she had expected to walk around town in.

Rather than walking on the beach, she ended up walking in the malls (not in her bathing suit) and rather than exploring the nature paths at the Naples Arboretum, she was confined to exploring the aisles in Best of Everything, all while wearing a borrowed scarf, sweater and windbreaker.

And rather than enjoying the balmy evening air during a cruise on Naples Bay, she had to shiver through a night time tour of the dock area in a convertible with the top down and the windows up.

As she good humouredly said, “I certainly didn’t expect that winter would travel so far south.”

But so go the vagaries of the weather in Naples. And even native and longtime Neapolitans have trouble getting through the cold snaps.

As an example of how tough we’ve had it, one morning a week or two ago I couldn’t meet my buddies outside the coffee shop to enjoy our morning brew and discuss the latest news about the Gulf oil spill, the local elections and the Jackson Lab. It was too cold.

Instead we huddled (literally) and crammed our way inside the crowded café.

One of our group, Joe, arrived wearing gloves and a scarf, but still shivering and looking and sounding blue — in color as well as emotion.

“I might as well have stood in Jersey, it’s so cold. In fact I probably should’ve stood in bed,” he said.

“Why didn’t you?” asked George.

“Because Gertrude was still there,” snapped Joe from Jersey.

We call him Jersey Joe after Jersey Joe Walcott of boxing fame who also wore gloves, boxing gloves — although the only thing our Jersey Joe can box is the English language.

At that point Sam arrived all bundled up like Nanook of the North.

“Brrr,” he muttered. “It’s cold as hell out there.”

“No,” someone corrected, “the expression is hot as hell.”

“Yeah, but there’s another expression about it being a cold day in hell. Well, today’s the day,” said a defiant Sam, “so I say it is cold as hell.”

“What we need,” I interjected, “is a quick dose of this global warming that people keep talking about.”

“If this is global warming, then maybe Al Gore did invent the Internet,” said Ed as he joined the shivering group. “A convenient lie, that’s what it is.”

From there the conversation went downhill like on a toboggan run until someone was quick to remind the group that our weather was balmy in comparison to the places from where we had migrated.

“And,” I added, “the only snow we have is artificial and doesn’t have to be shoveled. I can still remember struggling with my snow thrower up in Maryland.”

“Maryland,” said Ed. “Maryland is the deep south compared to where I lived outside Buffalo. You want to talk about snow, our drifts were higher than your mountains.”

“Well, we also lived in Iowa and Rhode Island,” I responded in defense of my comment.

A couple of nights later we were at a party scheduled to be held outdoors. Fortunately it was moved indoors, but it was still as cold as a witches brew — which was the drink of the night because it was made with hot coffee and your choice of booze. And the aroma was as mellow as the flavor, almost as good as the smell from a wood burning fireplace which I wished I was standing in front of.

Said one partygoer, “I think there is an equal chance of being able to snow ski here in Naples as to water ski.”

Another added, “We were going fishing, but the captain had to cancel because he didn’t have the necessary equipment to drill a hole in the ice.”

“Yeah, but remember the Titanic, so be careful boating in Naples Bay. There could be an iceberg in this burg.”

“That’s right,” said another guest, “and your night cap could freeze to your head.”

Believe it or not, that was just a week or two ago. And speaking of night caps, I am ready for one. The sun is going down and so is the temperature. Already it is almost down to 70, so a night cap is in order — just to keep the chill away, of course.

Oh yes, the vagaries of weather. Cheers.

Ciao!

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