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In the Good Old Days

Trivia Question

Who sang the hit song Nature Boy?

A Mug of Motivation?

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I live in the rural Midwest flatlands, where winters are often brutal and "the wind comes sweeping down the plains." This presents a personal challenge to me every winter as I bundle up against the forces of nature and try to prevent frostbite on my extremities. I make an attempt to limit my exposure to winter weather altogether -- I would much rather curl up in front of a warm fire with a good book than trudge out in the unfriendly elements for any reason (except to feed the wild birds in my backyard).

This behavior is the exact opposite from my tendency as a child. Back then, I could hardly wait to get out in the cold and snow to build forts, have snowball fights and go sledding on the hill behind our garage, no matter what the thermometer read. I was oblivious to the wind and biting cold. I donned whatever mismatched gloves, hat and scarf I could round up and played until the snow soaked through everything and my fingers and toes were red with chill. My siblings, the neighbor kids and I would then burst into the kitchen, where my mom would be making hot chocolate for us on the stove. As we situated our wet things over the heat registers to dry, she poured that sweet concoction into mugs for each of us. She would plop in a couple of marshmallows, much to our delight, and serve the steaming mugs to us from a tray, like we were Very Important People. It was a special treat to cap off the snow day, and it was just what I needed to warm up -- inside and out.

Maybe that's the missing ingredient for me as an adult. Maybe if there was the promise of a cup of homemade, stovetop hot chocolate with a few marshmallows bobbing in it at the end of a trek outdoors, I would be more likely to venture out and perhaps even enjoy it. Or ... maybe not. Maybe I will just skip the trip outside and go straight to the hot chocolate! I think that will go perfectly well with a warm fire and a good book. Don't you agree?

Happy new year from all of us at Good Old Days!

'Til next time,

Mary Beth Weisenburger,
Good Old Days® magazine

PS. Did you love playing outdoors in the cold and snow when you were a kid? What activities did you enjoy? We want to hear about it! Send a brief response to me at and it could appear in a future update or in Good Old Days magazine!

Mary Beth Weisenburger has been with Annie's since April 2011. She has 25 years of experience in the marketing, advertising and publishing fields. In addition to her job as editor of Good Old Days, she has been writing a family humor column for over a decade. She and her husband, two college-age kids, two dogs and various other critters live on five acres in the country, where she enjoys reading on the back porch, refinishing furniture, feeding the birds and digging in the dirt of her perennial gardens.

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Trivia Answer

Nat King Cole. Nature Boy was released as a single in 1948 on the Capitol Records label. Cole started his career as a jazz pianist but later became more recognized as a pop music singer.

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