The winter of 2011-12 (which, if you recall, lasted only December through February) was record-breakingly mild, but early on into that blessed, sweet season, I can't tell you how many people would comment, "Oh, we're gonna' get slammed, yessiree, we are, you just wait and see, thirty below, 45 inches of snow and ice on top of that."

After a long while, after weeks and months without that "other shoe" giving the slightest indication of dropping, my fellow-townspeople actually gave up prophesying doom and gloom and just lay back and enjoyed their good fortune.

I have a theory as to why we are so skittish about taking good fortune from Mother Nature at face value. You want to know why? It's because Mother Nature can be a heartless, two-timing - bi -- well, two-timer, that's why.

Midwesterners are like a nation of jilted lovers, not just "once burned, twice learned," but a gazillion times burned and totally cynical. Mother Nature breaks our hearts. Like the Chicago Cubs, she raises our hopes, and then, as Steve Goodman put it in "The Dying Cub Fan's Last Request," just crushes 'em (*pop*), "like so many paper beer cups, year after year after year - after year after year after year after year - 'til those hopes are just so much popcorn for the pigeons beneath the el tracks to eat."

To read the rest of this column subscribe to Decorah Newspapers at 563-382-4221 for just 34 cents an issue. Or purchase one at any of the many convenient locations in Decorah and throughout Winneshiek County.