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Navigating winter’s icy pathways

We look like something out of the “March of the Penguins.” But without the tuxedos.
Despite recent mild weather, this winter has been dominated by slick, slippery conditions. Taking short, choppy steps is a must to staying upright.
Arms locked, my wife and I often waddle down the slippery sidewalks and streets in Glencoe each morning after the constant thaw, rain and re-freezing cycles.
Bundled up in parkas, we look like Michelin tire people. The locked arms is a defense mechanism. If one falls, we both fall. It’s the misery-loves-company approach.
My wife thinks we should have our cell phone along in case we fall. I don’t own one, so it’s her call. My hope is some Good Samaritan will come along to prop us back up. She’s not so sure.
When things really got slippery this winter, we changed our route. Instead of testing our luck with the nasty ice on 10th Street sidewalks, we used the less traveled 11th Street at times. Walking along with traffic on 10th Street instead of the icy sidewalks is bit unnerving when a big semi passes several feet away.
Getting ready each morning looks like a winter ritual of our elementary school days. In my wife’s case, it’s heavy winter coat, ear muffs, light-weight mask to cover her lower face and gloves.
In my case, it is a heavy winter jacket, scarf inside the coat to keep my neck warm, stocking cap and heavy gloves. My beard acts as a natural chin protector. Long johns are mandatory.
Before we leave the house, my wife also grabs a bundle of Kleenex because her nose is running as soon as we hit the cold air. Blowing one’s nose with a 30-below windchill is not for the meek … and blowing one’s nose through a face mask is out of the question.
Me, I just sniff a lot. I was never much for “farmer blowing” of the nose. That’s a special talent I never acquired, let alone mastered.
My wife often leaves her hood down as we walk for fear it will mess up her hairdo. Apparently looking good, hair-wise, is important to women, even as temperatures hover around zero or below.
But when Karen puts her hood up, her glasses fog over. Pick your poison: Nice-looking hairdo but frozen noggin versus fogged glasses and a California, wind-blown surfer hairdo.
I’d go with the surfer look. She refuses.
I came to grips with the idea that hair is a rental thing. “Hair today, gone tomorrow” as we used to say in the 1960s. How prophetic.
Karen’s grandfather had a realistic outlook about hairdos. He had the hair rim look. Bald on top with his hairline around his ears.
He’d go to the barber and say he should get his haircut for half price.
But his barber always told him, “I should charge you double, because I have to hunt for them.”
Rich Glennie was the editor of The Chronicle for 23 years. He retired Aug. 1, 2014, but still plans to submit an occasional column.