Serving the High Plains

Military families not deterred

We got our first blast of winter last weekend and I had to attend two different events that were outdoors.

After talking to one young lady with her hoodie up and teeth chattering I shortly spotted a young man in shorts and a long sleeve T-shirt. We all have differing tolerance to cold and heat and it doesn't become obvious until that first cold snap of the year.

Putting on Cannon Appreciation Day in Portales with the Portales Military Affairs Committee during that first cold snap of the season proved a little nerve wracking for those of us planning the party.

Would folks come out in the weather? Would they eat and run?

We had our answer pretty quickly. The Air Force's 27th Special Operations Wing and their families don't back down from a little weather. I guess long deployments in hostile climates and separation from family members make 40 degrees, clouds and light breezes a picnic in the park. Which is exactly what we were doing.

Soon we had kids with runny noses running all over the grounds, decorating pumpkins, jumping in the bouncy castle, racing the stick horses and playing the hoppy frog game. The two most hazardous duties of the day were probably musicians Andy Mason and James Michael Idsinga whose fingers had to be freezing and the cheerleaders who were face painting those runny nosed kids.

Those kids should be running around outside this time of year and their nose should drip constantly until March. At least that was the way it was when I grew up back in the dark ages.

When the volunteers working the food service line complained I asked them to count their blessings.

"If you'll remember at this event last year the flies darn near carried us off," I quipped.

One young man told me it wasn't too bad out. He had gotten used to the cold at his last duty station in Alaska. I agreed that it was all just a matter of your state of mind and what you're used to functioning in every day.

But just in case the weather became too unbearable for those in attendance the planners had held a few aces up our sleeves. Toasting marshmallows for s'mores seems to warm up all ages. Winning a LCD color television as a door prize helps you forget about the weather too.

I admit my eyes watered a little during the event, partially because that breeze and the temperature was just right to make your eyes tear but it was also because I couldn't keep from thinking how much the military families in attendance give up to pursue a military career.

I'll stand out in the cold any day for folks like that.

Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:

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