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Surviving the Great Winter of 2010

Greenland is Melting.

It’s the name of a folk trio from Gainesville. Three guys on acoustic guitars and banjo whose influences include “foot stomping” and “suitcase bass drum,” according to their MySpace page.

In the midst of one of Florida’s longest cold snaps in memory and a terrible winter in much of the northern United States, Europe and China, you didn’t think I would dare try to make case for global warming today, did you? Nor would I try to make a case against it. I just don’t know.

All I know is that what singer Lou Rawls called “the Hawk,” the cold wind that famously blows through Chicago, seems to have landed in Bradenton.

A week from now, we’ll probably be sweating through a heat wave. But for now I’ve enjoyed seeing everyone in their sweaters and jackets. And if someone is approaching me in a hoodie, unlike the rest of the year, he’s probably just trying to stay warm rather than rob me.

For my money, it hasn’t been more wintry here than Jan. 1, when the wind was blowing, the surf was boiling, the rain was falling and 60 crazy people jumped into the waters off Anna Maria Island. Their minds were saying do it, but their bodies were involuntarily rebelling, contorting away from the cold surf, and even the old men were squealing like little girls on a roller coaster. But it was for a good cause, a children’s charity; thank you, Clancy’s.

This past Thursday, I returned to the beach and this time the sun was shining and, the sky was blue, and the folks on the beach were quiet, not a squeal to be heard.

They were in shorts and bathing suits. When I asked them, “You aren’t from around here are you?” they all answered no, they were from Toronto, London or a suburb of Philadelphia.

I knew it, because everyone I recognized as local was bundled up indoors.

Mike and Nancy Kammerer, of the Philadelphia area, were among the folks on the beach that day.

“We brought the weather with us,” Mike said.

But they weren’t complaining. “This is great,” Nancy said. “We’re going back to snow and it gets up to your knees.”

Shirley and Victor Deguara, of Toronto, were also on the beach that day. They arrived on New Year’s Eve and plan to stay until March.

“The people are nice here and it’s very comfortable,” said Shirley.

There was even a local guy acting like it was a summer day. Dave Davis, of the One Stop Shell Shop, had a T-shirt and shorts on and was touching up paint outside.

Friday, the respite was over and it was getting drizzly and colder again. At Lakewood Ranch, the Budweiser Clydesdales were a no-show, and I do believe there were more people huddled inside watching a model train display than were dancing in the street.

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