I woke up this morning feeling all stuffed up in my head. My sinuses are blocked and I have a dreadful headache. I can’t stop sneezing! Yes, you’ve guessed it…I have a head cold.
Not sure how I acquired it. Perhaps it was the lady that I met on the bus two days ago. She sounded congested and constantly took a tissue out and wiped her nose. Perhaps it was our postal worker who handed me the mail yesterday. Well, I don’t really know who; but what I do know for sure, is that it wasn’t Betty Frost who gave me this cold.
Who is Betty Frost? Let me explain.
As you are aware, I grew up on the Canadian prairies. The prairies are a beautiful place really. Weather wise however you must know that the prairies alternate between dry sunny days and quite cold nights, and in Winter, the prairie provinces sometimes have fierce temperatures as low as -30C. The first snowfall is often in the month of October.
Growing up on the prairies I often heard…
“Bundle up now and keep warm. Мороз is outside and you don’t want to catch a cold.”
“Don’t go out without a toque on, it’s мороз outside and you will catch cold.”
“Don’t go out with wet hair. It will get all frosty and you will catch a cold.”
Sound familiar to some of you? Yes, when growing up, I was frequently stopped from going outside because I could catch a cold from the cold weather. My mom used to say that the мороз would get me. Мороз is Ukrainian for frost.
Now we know as a fact that no one catches colds from being outside. The cold temperatures of the prairie winters did not give a person a cold. Colds are transmitted from person to person, not the cold winds of winter. But old wives tales were very prevalent back then. Come to think about it, they still are in many ways.
On my first day of school in Grade One, I met a fellow classmate named Betty Мороз. When I first heard the teacher call roll call and ask if Betty Мороз was present, I nearly ran out of the room. Oh no, I was doomed. How could I escape catching a cold if the мороз was in this classroom? I was so happy to know that her desk wasn’t connected to mine. I was in row 2 and She was in the row 5. Whew. At recess I never went near her. If she was on the swings, I wasn’t. I couldn’t understand why the other kids played with her.
That first day of school after class was dismissed at 4:00pm, I raced home and told mom that I would probably be sick now forever and wouldn’t ever be able to go to school again. But why my mom asked? Did you already learn to print your name? Could you already read a book? No, I replied. It’s because of Betty Мороз.
My mom laughed and said that I’d be just fine and I should be her friend. She never explained but I did as she told me.
I became friends with Betty and I still am!
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