The holidays flew by and now it is probably most folk’s least favorite time of the year. The daylight is short; the nights are long and cold. That holiday hangover of taking it down, packing it up and paying for all the presents has set in.
The cold doesn’t usually bother me, but one night I was taking my four-legged son Buddy for a walk and thought for sure I had frost bite on my nose. I should have worn my camo ski mask. Normally when I’m out and about I stay ahead of Jack Frost, but not that night. Besides, I didn’t want my neighbor Trooper Rich Holz to think Buddy and I were going to knock off Mr. Dewar’s house. You know camo ski mask and all. Dewey always has a treat for Buddy on Halloween so Buddy probably would have gone along with a heist. I can just imagine, “This is a stick up, give me a cup of hot coffee and your box of milk bones.” Probably should get Buddy a mask too, so he doesn’t get recognized. About this time, Holz rolls up in his cruiser and I’d be in big trouble – I just need to be faster than my partner in crime to get away. But, you know, Buddy may be a bit quicker than me since he’s younger and has four legs and all.
Can’t you just hear Officer Holz over the megaphone, “Drop the milk bones and put your paws in the air.”
Boy, maybe I have been out in the cold too long…
Anyway, this time of year provides a great opportunity to share time as a family. Sure, there are things that still need to be done in the evening, but many of us have more spare time than in those warm summer months when the daylight is long.
My son Hunter can often be heard saying, “Let’s order a movie.” This is a great way to share a cold winter night as a family. Pop up some extra butter Orville’s, enjoy the warmth of the living room and relax together.
If you want to go out and catch a movie, head downtown to the Cinema Center. What a great addition to our area. The modern theater has elevated seats that recline back, plenty of room for you and the kids. It is a little more expensive than a movie at home.
Want to stay at home, but not sit in front of the tube? I guess it’s not really a tube anymore…
Pull out those old board games and dust them off. You might need to explain to some younger kids what a board game is, but you can get past this.
Monopoly is my favorite, although my wife normally wins. Imagine that, maybe this should be telling me something. Jimmy also does quite well. Hunter and I often get left in the dust. We lack focus and enjoy joking around and having a few snacks. No matter what game you like, break it out and share some family board time and the laughs that accompany it. No electronic devices at the game table.
Not a board game person? Find a deck of cards. Make sure there are 52! Decks at my house always seem to be missing the card I need.
Setback, Hearts, Spades, War – it doesn’t matter. There are many family friendly card games that can be taught and played for a lifetime. There is not a better time to do this than when it is zero outside.
Invite some relatives over – cards are a great way to bring young and old together. Rules may be different from generation to generation, but it all works itself out. If you haven’t played in a while, get a game together.
You say you have cabin fever? Well my nephew Nico just completed his efforts as the Great Gatsby for the Community Theater League. What a great show they put on. There are plenty of events to enjoy that can be found in our pages. We are fortunate to have the Community Arts Center, the CTL, the Uptown Music Collective and many student productions that provide an escape from the cold and normal routine of winter. Grab a bite at your favorite restaurant and make it dinner and a show.
You probably could have guessed that I would work sports in here somewhere. There is great high school hoops action and wrestling to be taken in. Take the family and pick up an older relative that might enjoy a ballgame and hit the local gym.
Coach Petcavage’s talented Neumann squad can be found over at the CAC, Alize Johnson is a Division 1 recruit or head up to the Magic Dome and take a look at future Penn State guard Isaiah Washington. Coach Taylor has the young Millionaires moving in the right direction.
If you have young children, this is the time they will always remember and who knows, this may spark an interest in the game.
Young kids view high schoolers like they are NBA players.
Can’t forget CI and his Lancers. Kyle, Omar and the boys warm up many a cold gym. Who knows, you may even see a dunk or two. Wesley LaPoint and Omar have got ups.
Another idea for some winter family time or getting the gang together on a cold January night is Faxon Lanes. It is very reasonably priced. I like to challenge the boys in bumper bowling. Just kidding. However, this is a great way to get the youngest bowlers involved, as is the Astro Bowling. Throw in a couple of pizzas and a cold beverage – what could be better?
Hoopla’s is another great option. Lots of arcade games to play, mini-bowling, a restaurant and sports bar. They serve a great burger. Again, it is reasonably priced and it is something different.
Glow Golf just opened inside the Lycoming Mall. I haven’t been there yet, but the boys tell me it’s pretty cool and you get a lot of golf for a low price.
Try my version of mini-golf – Hole in One Golf. You get two shots per hole for a hole in one. Your first shot and your mulligan. If you don’t get a hole in one you pick up your ball and move to the next hole. The winner at the end is the person with the most holes in one.
It is great for a family; it’s a lot of fun and actually makes for a quicker round. The fun of mini-golf, after all, is the hole-in-one and there will be many!
Before you know it, winter will pass. The days will grow longer and the first robins will be seen and heard in the early morning sunshine.
For now, enjoy the cold winter nights and make the most of each day. The time spent together having a game of Monopoly, watching a movie, or getting out for a night of bowling can provide the family time that is much needed in this country.
The love and laughter you share will warm up even the coldest winter night.