A Case Of The Winter Blues

Man, not only did I wake up feeling kind of blue on the 15th of February, several hours later my funk was still hanging around. Knowing that I needed to take some action I picked up the phone to call my psychiatrist, Dr. R. U. Forereel. But a second later I thought better of it, because, after all the many years that I’ve been spilling out my guts to her, I knew what she would say.

“Are you for real, Neil?” Dr. Forereel would have replied to my explanation of the situation. “Why are you wasting my time over such a trivial matter? Everybody gets the blues now and then. Get off your scrawny rump, Neil, and go for a walk. That’s all you need to do to start feeling better.” And then she’d have hung up abruptly. And, hopefully, would not have sent me a bill for the brief phone session.

Yeah, the first half of February, blessing my part of the globe (I live near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) with lots of snow, ice and cold temperatures, was a big pain. Having lived with those kinds of conditions for most winters of my life, I’m used to them. And, normally, I grin and bear them.

This year, though, slowly but surely winter’s assaults got to me, and I became symptomatic on the 15th. Seeing that my usual morning activities (drinking coffee, doing sudoku puzzles and scratching my balls) weren’t dissipating the blues at all, I decided to take the advice that Dr. Forereel would have offered. Thus, at around 10:30 I bundled up real good. Then I fired up an episode of The Many Moods Of Ben Vaughn, an excellent music podcast, on my phone, stuck earbuds in my ears and headed out the door to stroll around my suburban winter wonderland.

Wonderland? Nah, anything but. Sure, everything looked nice and idyllic right after the first of several snowstorms in early February. But, by February 15th, examples of beauty in my neighborhood were few and far between. That was only to be expected, of course, as snow plows had done their thing two or three times, piling ungainly mounds of snow and ice along the sides of every street. And sidewalk and driveway shoveling had added to the mess. An exception was the Willow Grove Bible Church, which was a pretty charming sight. Overall, though, I gave a rating of anywhere from meh to crap to just about every scene that met my eyes.

Plus, the grey skies weren’t doing anything to lift my spirits either. Ben Vaughn, on the other hand, was. I’ve written about Ben before. Each episode of The Many Moods contains an impressive mixture of musical genres. As I strode along my neighborhood’s blocks on the 15th, the tunes that poured through my earbuds improved my mood. Especially, by far, the hard-rocking ones. In fact, when I’d left the house I instinctively knew that in-your-face drumming was what I was in need of. Fortuitously, during the first 20 minutes of Ben’s show I heard three songs that featured such. They put pep and purpose into my steps. They got my juices flowing. No doubt it would be a good idea now for me to present them. Here then, via YouTube, are rad rockers by Mott The Hoople (“All The Way From Memphis”), Chuck Berry (“Almost Grown”), and Nick Lowe (“Half A Boy And Half A Man”). My humble story continues below them.

But you know what? The uplifting effects of my 45-minute walk didn’t have staying power. When I arrived back home I was feeling no more than 30% better than I did when I began the trek. Shit, it was just one of those days. I suppose that the pandemic was feeding my blues too. My wife and I, like just about everybody, have been limited in our activities since coronavirus reared its ugly head last year. But at least we were able to eat outdoors at restaurants and entertain friends outdoors at our home when the weather was decent.

We can’t do the same when it’s cold outside. And, because we are cautious when it comes to the virus, indoor dining and indoor entertaining definitely are off our schedules. What a drag, drag, drag.

Anyway, I’m a sucker for happy endings. They sure as hell make life seem better. And I’m going to present one to you. Yes, for reasons unclear to me, my skies began to brighten around 5:30 PM on February 15th. And by 7:00 PM I was back to being my normal self. You know, a grumpy, head-halfway-up-his-scrawny-ass septuagenarian. I haven’t always been a septuagenarian, but grumpy and head-halfway-up-his-scrawny-ass have been pretty accurate descriptions of me for years. Yo, nobody’s perfect!

(Please don’t be shy about adding your comments. Gracias.)

136 thoughts on “A Case Of The Winter Blues

  1. Pam Lazos March 1, 2021 / 7:27 pm

    I think Feb was tough for us all, Neil, but better days — and more light — are ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Annika Perry March 2, 2021 / 7:32 am

    Neil, your February is our January I feel. Always a bit blue, this year so dark with horrific news. February the sun came out, lunches outside and even cutting the lawn! Longing to be allowed to travel to walk along the coast again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 2, 2021 / 10:57 am

      Wow, I didn’t realize that our seasons differ so much. It’ll be a while before I’m eating outside or mowing the lawn. But the worst part of winter here is over (I think).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Paul Simpson March 3, 2021 / 1:17 pm

    Hi. I came across your blog via another. Your post made me smile as I can really relate to your situation. In North West England we get too many grey skies and the weather and the Kung Flu is making me pretty grumpy. But, I’ve had my first vaccination and I am starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Good songs, especially Mott the Hopple!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Paul Simpson March 3, 2021 / 2:13 pm

    Just realised I’ve created a new band!🤭

    Liked by 1 person

  5. George March 9, 2021 / 12:53 am

    I’ve forgotten which great philosopher said, “rock and roll can’t solve your problems, but it sure can give them one hell of a bashing”, but whoever it was was right. Spring is on the way, but until it arrived stay tuned to that show, it sounds fab. I’m a big fan of Nick Lowe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 9, 2021 / 8:56 am

      You know, I listened to another episode of Ben Vaughn’s show yesterday while I was out for a walk. His show has kept me company many times.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Liza March 9, 2021 / 4:31 pm

    I think your recipe was excellent! Just might have taken a bit longer than you would have liked to kick in….like a young 20 something!?

    Liked by 1 person

      • Liza March 9, 2021 / 5:44 pm

        Ahhh yes, as a septuagenarian… but that 20 year old may still be hanging around as well! Your post was a great read, and when you spoke of the impatience with feeling grumpy… I immediately thought how your 20 year old self was telling you to “lighten up!” It was just a funny thought 😊 since it sometimes feels like we are many ages while the body continues in a forward momentum. ☮️ take care! Looking forward to reading more.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, Another Blogger March 9, 2021 / 6:24 pm

          A friend of mine says he thinks he’s pretty much the same person that he always was. Except when he looks in the mirror! I feel the same as he does.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Liza March 9, 2021 / 6:34 pm

            Oooo yes… I as well! Sometimes when I catch my reflection and I am not prepared for it, it can be a bit startling! And I think “how did THAT happen?” As if for some reason I believed I would just skip that part of the life process 😂. !! Surprise! It must have happened while I was sleeping…😊

            Like

  7. lookingforthehigherself March 9, 2021 / 7:09 pm

    Aww sorry you felt down Neil and glad you felt better by 15 Feb ☺️ Safe to say you are not the only one. We are so tired of it too and sometimes a
    Long walk helps sometimes it doesn’t… but its an ebb and flow and for you spring is almost there and not long before summer arrives… good luck 🤲🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 9, 2021 / 8:16 pm

      Hi, and thanks for adding your thoughts. The weather has improved a lot here recently. Nearly all the snow has melted. Spring is on its way. Take care. Enjoy the rest of the week.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. grimspound March 18, 2021 / 1:31 pm

    Love that, Neil! I feel your pain. I did my time with snow and ice, surviving many a Canadian winter. I don’t do snow now, unless it’s a chosen drive up our Mount Lemmon.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. jkaybay March 22, 2021 / 2:34 pm

    Thank you for providing another reference to Pennsylvania to start of my day. I haven’t quite figure out why PA is popping up for me everywhere I look and listen, these days – I think I may have to go there to find out why!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Silver Screenings April 25, 2021 / 3:03 pm

    Excellent music for today. Thanks!

    Not that it matters, but it looks like everyone in the neighbourhood is diligent about clearing snow from their sidewalks.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. jeanleesworld June 5, 2021 / 10:23 pm

    Well I’m sure late to this party! I hope your summer promises brighter, kinder things in your outdoor adventures and social interactions. The kids are out of school now, so all the chaos is back at home. Very thankful summer school will be in person, that’s for sure! In the meantime, we’ll get by with old cartoons, old movies, and old kinds of fun. 🙂 Be well! xxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

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