The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

January 2, 2013

BICKER: Winter gives way to added need for comfort

By Natalie Conrad
Herald Staff Writer

CLINTON — There is a lot to be said for comfort. It comes in many forms.

Comfort can be found in a nice, soft warm blanket, a steaming bowl of homemade soup, a hug from someone you love or it can be found in a favorite movie.

Now that winter is upon us, I find comfort in all those things.

I love snuggling up with my favorite fleece blanket on the couch after finishing my daily chicken chores. After several treks in and out of the chicken coop, I look forward to unthawing in a nice hot shower and wrapping myself up in a blanket. It’s the simple pleasures in life that make everything worthwhile.

If I could, I would wrap up each one of my little hens in a blanket too. My chickens really lucked out with winter last year; however, this year they are getting a cold dose of reality. Even though they have extra bedding and two heat lamps in the coop, my heart still goes out to them. It’s really hard to see them standing with their heads tucked under their wings — poor things. For their sake, I hope we see a January thaw soon.

I’m not the only one at my house who has found comfort in a nice warm blanket. For Christmas, Cordy received a new-and-improved bed from my mom. It was evident right away that Cordy loved her new bed. She laid right down on it and went to sleep. Needless to say, it made for some great pictures. Since then, I can’t help but wrap her up like a baby before we go to bed at night. On cold wintry nights, when the wind is howling, I think she really appreciates it.

Comfort also can come in food. When I’m having a rough day, I can’t help but reach out for some so-called comfort foods like ice cream and cookies. Lately, I’ve been gravitating toward hot cups of coffee. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would become a coffee fanatic, but I have. My morning just isn’t complete without a cup. Since I’m up before most of my chickens are, I need a little kick start to help begin my day. Now, that’s comforting.

Comfort also can come in the form of homemade soups. I love to eat soup in the winter, whether its vegetable, chicken noodle or chili. The soup’s aroma is the first thing that encapsulates my senses. It’s almost as good as standing on a beach and sniffing in the ocean-drenched air. One of my fondest memories from my childhood was eating my grandmother’s homemade chicken soup. I can remember coming into the house after a very cold go-kart ride and warming up with a bowl of her soup. I can still see the kitchen, smell the soup and see Grandma watching me eat. It also was comforting knowing that she was in the house waiting for me.

As the days get longer and the cold outside begins to strengthen, I look forward to hot bowls of soup at night. I have great pride in my homemade soup since I canned my own tomatoes and grew my own vegetables this summer. Knowing that will make it taste even better.

Comfort also can come in the form of a treasured movie or TV show. When I sit down to watch one of my old movies, I feel like I’m reconnecting with an old friend. Even the sound of their voices takes on a very soothing effect after a long day. I always feel better and more relaxed after reconnecting with the Walton or Stone family at night. When I went away to college, they were a great source of comfort to me. In a span of an hour or half hour, my troubles just seemed to slip away.

So, on a cold wintry night, take a little time and indulge yourself — enjoy the comforts of life.

Angie Bicker has been employed with the Clinton Herald since 2001. She can be reached at angiebicker@clintonherald.com.