On the news beat: Baby, it's cold outside

If you see what appears to be a mound of winter clothes running around Catawba County in the next few days, it’s me. I hate cold weather, and this week’s bitterly cold temperatures have left me seeing just how many layers I can add to my body and still maintain the use of my arms.
I don’t remember when I started hating cold weather. I do know, however, that I reach for a sweater just from the mention of temperatures below 70 degrees.
I took a college tour at Appalachian State University during my senior year of high school. As I walked through the campus, I realized I would fail out of college if I went to ASU.
No, it wasn’t because of academics or any other freshman-year concerns. I knew if I went to App State, I would never go to class.
One glance outside at the ice-covered grounds or the snow-capped mountains, and I knew I would roll over in my bed and go back to sleep. I just can’t stand cold weather.
I ended up at a North Carolina university about three hours east of Boone and about 20 degrees warmer in the winter, making it much easier to attend class on those dark January mornings.
Snow and sleet dominated my Sunday afternoon this weekend. As I watched the precipitation fall from the sky, I suppressed a shiver, pushed up the thermostat and added another layer of clothing for good measure.
Sure, I complain about the cold weather. That is, until I think about what Christmas time would be like without it. The holidays just aren’t the same without frosted windows, a winter chill and a thick scarf.
My family spent Thanksgiving in Hawaii about 10 years ago, enjoying a side of 75-degree weather with our turkey and stuffing. As much as I reveled in the downright hot, sunny conditions, I couldn’t help but think something was wrong.
I wore a sundress instead of a coat. We drank pineapple juice instead of hot chocolate. Our noses were red, not from the snow, but from too much beach time.
When I think about winter weather, I’m always reminded of my favorite Christmas movie, the 1954 musical “White Christmas.” If there’s one movie to detail the importance of a wintery holiday, it’s this one.
Bing Crosby and his gang of performers retire for the holidays to a ski lodge in Vermont. The only problem is the lodge experiences a bit of global warming. There’s no snow and no skiers.
Bing pulls together a performance by the end of the movie, and of course, a thick blanket of winter snow is inevitable before the musical’s final note ends.
As cheesy as it is, the message of the movie is simple: We need just a bit of winter weather during the holidays.
I grew up in the Piedmont. A white Christmas was usually out of the question for my family. But I’ll take a cold weather snap on Christmas morning, just to see children and their families bundled up outside and playing with their new Christmas presents. There’s just something about the brisk weather that makes things cozy.
So for now, I’ll grin and bear the cold weather — at least until the holidays are finished.

Jordan-Ashley Baker is a reporter for The Observer News Enterprise. Her column appears in the Wednesday edition of The O-N-E.