Gypsies, Indians, Old Ladies . . .

A week ago we were bundled up and I had resigned myself to the beginning of winter.  I bought hot chocolate powder, and took my leather jacket and wool skirt out of their space bags.  My meal plan is filled with soups, stews and other cold weather meals, and I broke down a turned on the heat.

Now it’s in the 70’s and will be hovering in the low 70’s/high 60’s for the next 7 or 8 days, according to the forecast.  The children played outside for an hour and a half this morning without jackets.  The mackerdoodle was able to ride her bike without mittens to keep her fingers warm and the sun shining through my kitchen sliding glass doors have produced that fantastic “just slightly too warm” sunbeam across my dining room and into my living room.  It’s beautiful, and I don’t really care what it’s called, or I didn’t think I did, until I heard a weather man call it an “Indian Summer.”

I actually spoke to the television, saying, “Oh come on now!  It’s November.  This isn’t any kind of a summer.”

“An Indian summer is a meteorological phenomenon that occurs in autumn, in the Northern Hemisphere. It is characterized by a period of sunny, warm weather, after the leaves have turned following an onset of frost, but before the first snowfall;  a period normally associated with mid-October to late-November in the northern states of the United States. Traditionally, Indian summer can only be a true Indian summer after the first frost, generally a killing frost, of the season.[1]

ahem.  Sorry mr. local weather man.

While discovering that I had misused the term “Indian Summer” my entire life, I also discovered that in Russia, most of the Balkans and Belgium, it is called an Old Ladies’ summer.  In Hungary they call it a Crone’s Summer, in Bulgaria it’s a Gypsy summer or Gypsy christmas, in Turkey it’s a Pastrami summer and in Germany and Austria it’s simply “Golden October.”

Frankly, you can thank the witches, Gypsies, Indians or pastrami if you like, but I’m calling it a piece of grace from heaven to someone who wasn’t looking forward to a long cold winter indoors with a toddler and preschooler.