It was so cold

Boots in the snow

When I was a kid my family visited the cold winters of Moncton, Canada, where I experienced what might have been frostbite for the first and only time in my life. My cheeks didnt actually fall off, but for the purposes of this story Im going to say it was frostbite.

Moncton is a beautiful city in southeastern New Brunswick with an active French-speaking Acadian population. We often went to visit my moms French-Canadian relatives there. I never understood why we went in the winter. If you visit Moncton, go in the summer. Its lovely in the summer. Nobody gets frostbite in the summer.

My dad and I wanted to go to the local mall to get some coffee. We thought we’d just pop over for breakfast. It was the middle of December. It was snowy, windy, and hovering close to zero Fahrenheit. Wind chill pushed it well into the negative. I wore a black scarf wrapped around my face and a hat, so that the only exposed skin on my face was the small space behind my eyeglasses.

That little bit of exposed skin took all the force of the wind. The cold only hardened our resolve. We refused to give up. We forced our way against the wind like mountain climbers on Mount Everest, desperate to reach the mall. Hot coffee was just across the street. The wind howled crazily about. We would not be deterred! Coffee was so close! So close!

By the time we got to the other side of the street I had two pink blistered triangles of skin where the wind whipped at the unprotected triangles of my face. Was that frostbite? Were my cheeks going to blacken and come off in pieces? Do people in Canada wear ski masks? How does one protect that part of your face? These were terrible thoughts to ponder. Moncton in winter was a terrible, terrible place, to which I vowed never to return.

Why did we go to Moncton in the winter? Why? WHY?

We made it to the comfort of the mall and took the only reasonable course of action: staying at the toasty mall all day, playing slot machines and eating breakfast multiple times over. I ate scrambled eggs and bacon at least twice. He had French toast, fried eggs, and sausages. We both had several cups of coffee. I may have lost twenty bucks on slot machines, but I drank coffee and ate breakfast all day with my dad. Despite the burn of my poor cheeks, a good time was had by all.

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