A word as to the clothing especially designed for the cold of the country. Wool-lined mittens may seem to hark back to sleighbells and buffalo robes, but driving a spirited span hitched to a cutter was a summer occupation compared to steering an unheated automobile ten miles on a below zero morning with ordinary gloves. Mittens are not graceful but in them the fingers are not confined and therefore do not chill as quickly.
Further, do not scorn the good old-fashioned arctics. Get the high four-buckle kind. They afford real protection against cold and snow and a pair lasts for several years, particularly in the sections of the country where snow and abnormally cold weather are intermittent. Sweaters and woolen mufflers should also be part of the added equipment, for nothing makes for such misery as getting thoroughly chilled for lack of adequate outside clothing. A walk or a drive becomes then just an endurance test.
We have one last warning. The mitten and overshoe theory may seem to you but a sad sign of approaching age and debility—and so none of them for you. Granted they are not needed except for abnormal weather, some bitter cold evening you may arrive home with fingers, or ears, or toes frostbitten. Don’t under such circumstances go into a warm room before you have thawed them with snow and vigorous massage. When you do go into the warm atmosphere continue to treat the bite with cloths wrung out in ice water. Otherwise, this simple winter casualty may be as serious and painful as a bad burn.
In the good old days before the United States had a record of one fire every minute of the twenty-four hours, grandfather and his father before him considered that a good citizen paid his poll tax, served on juries, and patrolled his home for fire. Going to bed without banking fires in stoves and fireplaces was unthinkable. The rest of the household also had a proper respect for lighted candles and other possible fire breeders. Of course, under this simpler mode of living, light and heat were generated within view and what is seen cannot be readily ignored.
Then came the development of modern household conveniences. Furnaces and steam plants took heating below stairs; electricity replaced candles, lamps, and gas fixtures; and the old cook stove gave way to modern ranges of various sorts. The safer and easier the devices, the more human vigilance relaxed. Today, of our half billion dollar fire loss annually, one-fifth of it occurs in the country, and over sixty per cent of residential fires start in the cellar.