This winter hasn't been a laughing matter. Snow, ice, high winds, we have experienced just about every obstacle Mother Nature can send our way.

But what's adversity without humor.

A loyal reader sent this story on, one you're sure to get a chuckle from as you await spring now only 22 days away.

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One winter morning a husband and wife were listening to the local radio station during breakfast. They heard the announcer say, "We are going to have 8 to 10 inches of snow today. You must park your car on the even-numbered side of the street, so the snowplows can get through."

So the good wife went out and moved her car.

A week later while they are eating breakfast again, the radio announcer said, "We are expecting 10 to 12 inches of snow today. You must park your car on the odd-numbered side of the street, so the snowplows can get through."

The good wife went out and moved her car again.

The next week they are again having breakfast, when the radio announcer says, "We are expecting 12 to 14 inches of snow today. You must park....."

Then the electric power went out.

The good wife was very upset, and with a worried look on her face she said, "Honey, I don't know what to do. Which side of the street do I need to park on so the snowplows can get through?"

With the love and understanding in his voice the husband replied, "Why don't you just leave it in the garage this time?"

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Food. There's something about the winter and cold that makes us think of food. It helps warm us up from the inside out.

Today we live in a fast-food culture. Years ago, we didn't realize it, but take-out food was a big part of our lives then also. Only we didn't consider it fast food because it wasn't. It was family food, often from recipes handed down for generations. It wasn't fast food, but it was sure take-out. And everybody in the Panther Valley knew where to go to find their favorites.

I bring this up today because of an email I received earlier this week from Jesse Hiles, owner of the Sports Zoo in Lansford. Seems he and a few patrons got on the subject of "local" take out, and here's what he had to say.

"Hey Editor. Always enjoy reading your column about baby boomer generation stuff (which I am a member) and was just wondering if you could do a piece on one of my favorite subjects. FOOD !!!

"We sometimes get nostalgic while quaffing a few root beers here at the Infamous Sports Zoo and reminisce about eateries when we were kids.

"Growing up in Summit Hill left me living smack dab in the middle of Carnish's Bar & Grille, Tommy's Hoagies, and the Keystone Bar. I remember the day when Chubby (Carnish) apologized for raising his pizza from $1 to $1.10 and remember going in Tommy's and getting a regular hoagie, can of soda, and a bag of chips for 65 cents TOTAL.

"And, of course, every town had great bar food. Strauss's pierogies, Sisko's lobster, Kanuch's ham sandwiches, and let's not EVER forget Casmir's burgers and pizza. Wouldn't it be awesome to have your readers send in all the area grub bars and restaurants from the past that made us fat and happy as kids?

Remember the Star Lunch, George and Sue's, The My Place, Summit Hill Italian Club's hoagies? Just a thought, Bob.....that I know you'd sit back in your chair and think about with a smile !!! Dig in. Peace." Jesse Hiles.

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I remember it well Jess. I courted my wife with Strauss's pierogies. And how about the square (Sicilian) pizza from the Aquila? The best milkshakes in the Valley came from Buck Cully's. And Ernie Sandri had the first take out pizza I ever sank my teeth into on Friday nights when my Aunt Celia would treat us to a pie. At the My Place you could get a slab (slice) of pizza and a cherry Coke for 25 cents.

Often we'd venture over to Tamaqua for the ultimate burgers and hot dogs at the Texas Lunch. They were equally delicious whether they were ordered late at night, following an evening of socializing out on the town, or at nine in the morning, when I was making my morning police checks while a cub reporter for the old Evening Courier. And Mamie Dietrich, up on Dutch Hill, had the best pickled eggs of any bar I ever frequented. Keep the salt shaker close.

I'm sure we just touched the tip of the iceberg here, while reminiscing about the great eats we sampled in our younger days. But I'm also sure that readers of this column, or frequenters of the Sports Zoo, can come up with a lot more examples.

Jess and I are anxious to hear from you. After all, what's better on a cold winter day than thinking and talking about the food that warmed us to our souls.