Summit Up 9-12-10
September 11, 2010
Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column storing up nuts and berries for the winter.
Brrrrrr! There’ve been some chilly nights lately.
Just yesterday we woke up to find our digs were chilling at a frigid 52 Fahrenheit.
A quick flick of a switch and the baseboard heating sequence had been initiated.
That’s appropriate, considering we’re nearly halfway through September and, if you haven’t heard, we get 4 inches of snow – on average – this month.
It’s usually about this time we start loading up plates of hearty, heart-healthy food and chowing down double hard.
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Take a tip from the bears: Storing up a little extra weight for the winter is a great way to maintain a comfy core body temperature.
Honey, long known to be the bear’s favorite dish, should be taken with a couple shakes of
cinnamon each day. It boosts immunity and tastes good, too.
In other news, we enlightened mountain dwellers should be taking a queue from an otherwise ordinary Texas town.
The unassuming community of Brownsville (median household income: $27,679 in 2008 relative to Summit County’s $68,323, according to city-data.com) is banning complementary plastic bags in convenience stores and supermarkets come Jan. 5.
After that date, any transaction involving the bags costs an extra dollar. The finances are committed to city clean-up and environmental projects.
Plastic bags are known to suffocate people. They also can take centuries to decompose.
A recent effort among local mountain towns involved competition to see who could use the least amount of plastic bags.
Perhaps it’s time to put some teeth in that priority.
California tried to ban plastic shopping bags but couldn’t get enough support.
Perhaps we could start small.
Let’s get the greeters at local businesses to hand out candy to people who use reusable bags.
Or maybe they could scream at people who use more than one or two plastic bags.
So why Brownsville?
We’ve traveled through those parts a time or two while on our way across the Mexican border.
The town is at the southern tip of Texas, just across the river from Matamoros.
Underage college kids visit the shining town of Matamoros while on their South Padre Island spring break vacations.
They patronize the Black Cat Bar, where a bucket of 10 Mexican beers is only $9 (USD).
Yep, that’s about all we can tell you about that area.
Texas, on the other hand, isn’t generally known for its tidy, eco-friendly residents.
Last decade found us driving along an interstate highway popularized by the iconic Pat Green country singer.
Despite his song’s references to freedom and escape, we felt sickened. Trash was scattered up and down the road. We saw people throwing everything from cigarette butts to paper bags full of leftover Braum’s right out their windows.
Braum’s is certainly one of the highlights of Texas. It’s a greasy burger joint with thick, crinkle-cut fries and many flavors of delicious ice cream.
It’s the kind of joint you might visit on a Sunday afternoon and bump into three cousins, a teacher and your old boss.
Everything tastes better when eaten inside the restaurant – especially the banana splits.
Armadillos are often sighted across the state – mostly dead on the road, next to the leftover Braum’s trash.
Armadillos like to eat lizards, frogs and snakes, but no creature with a tongue can turn down the Braum’s Jalapeno Pepper Jack Cheeseburger.
It’ll keep a human full for nine hours. An armadillo could feed its entire family the burger and still have enough leftovers to toss in a culvert.
If you ever run into one of these creatures while it’s alive (if it’s upside down, it’s certainly dead), do not be afraid.
The armadillo will not attack a human, at least unprovoked.
But beware: Armadillos may carry leprosy.
Scientists experiment on them because their body temperatures are similar to that of a human, according to wikipedia.org.
Wikipedia even makes a reference to roadkill (sans Braum’s):
“Armadillos make common roadkill due to their habit of jumping to about fender height when startled.”
The Library of Congress (www.loc.gov) points out that the little creatures are able to jump three to four feet high.
In the wild, it helps them avoid predators. On the highway “they jump into the underside of moving vehicles,” according to the Library of Congress.
Other than $1 plastic bags, access to cheap Mexican bars and armored placental mammals, the only thing we’d like to add about Texas today is that it doesn’t snow much there.
While we’re storing up carbs and protein for wintertime, Texans are waiting an hour after Braum’s before diving into swimming pools.
Perhaps one day we’ll all carry groceries in armadillo shells.
It’s Sunday, and beef and ice cream are what’s for dinner.