In the Dead of Winter anymore, I feel old … cold too …. And every year it seems darker at 5pm than it did the year before.
When I was a kid, did 5pm in the Dead of Winter seem so relentlessly pitch black? I honestly don’t remember. I think I was probably more preoccupied with the darkness in my soul rather than the asphalt-colored afternoons.
Of course, at 4pm every day after school, circa 1968, I was glued to the old black and white TV watching the campy vampire soap, “Dark Shadows.” So by 5pm I was more preoccupied with the fake dark hallways, the flickering candles, the Old House in the fog on the hill, the beautiful witch Angelique, those dangerous pointy teeth.
“Dark Shadows” was always a good substitute for the darker reality outside. Or inside ….
I had scrapbooks filled with treasured magazine clippings of the quirky cast members, much like I now have old photo albums filled with memories of all my quirky family members. Many of the family members have gone on to the ultimate darkness of the unknown while the soap opera cast members of the short-lived series went on to become, well, simply unknown.
In the Dead of Winter, I am more likely to think of my dead loved ones and wonder if they are anywhere in the fog watching over me. In the darkness it does not feel like an absolute given that they are ….
In the Dead of Spring there are more hopeful possibilities. The squirrels come out and the trees sprout leaves and it seems more likely that Grandpa Paul is close by, silent and invisible, checking up on his favorite grandkid.
In the Dead of Winter nowadays, there is no “Dark Shadows” buffer for the darkness without. Oh yes, there are lamps and cats and books to flicker like beacons in the night. But silly shows like “Glee” or “Survivor” are no substitute for the quirky comfort of the vampire soap.
(c) February 2011
by Phyllis J. Hanniver