The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

December 22, 2013

Snowy days are made for loafing

The Commercial-News

I pity Floridians. They may be tan, but they don’t know what it’s like to loaf at home on a snowy winter’s day.

The opportunity presented itself a week ago. It started snowing Friday afternoon and it continued all night. By morning we had 6 or 7 inches, and it kept coming.

Our old neighborhood resembled one of those little plastic snow globes after you give it a shake. Everything was so still and white and beautiful; I stood on the porch for a few minutes to soak it in.

And the timing was perfect. The work week was over and we didn’t have to go anywhere.

I shoveled the sidewalk, and a path to the street, then retreated to the house. There, I fixed myself a nice pot of tea and some toast with peanut butter. Then I headed to my book room, which, I suppose, qualifies as a “man cave.”

I’ve been reading a lot about “man caves” lately.

In one recent story, a 39-year-old Indiana man discussed his cave’s plush leather reclining sofas, home theater with 92-inch motorized projection screen, 50-inch flat screen TV, rock band instruments, corner bar, and posters for “The Godfather” and “Star Wars.”

“I knew exactly what it was going to be when I bought the house,” he said, proudly. “ … Every guy wants to have one room that is his. It just allows you to step away from work and do whatever it is you have to do.”

Every “man cave” is a sanctuary where the hairy family knuckle-dragger can hide, relax, and surround himself with guy things. It might be filled with sports memorabilia, or hunting trophies, or it might be a miniature tavern with its own bar, coolers and pool table. Many have video games and computers.

My book room features floor-to-ceiling shelves loaded with books, books and more books. The books that don’t fit are stacked on the floor.

There’s little fiction, but lots of history and travel and architecture. In my room live some of my favorite people, including H. L. Mencken, H. V. Morton, Robert Lewis Stevenson, George Ade, Ernie Pyle, Mary Ellen Chase and Mark Twain.

There’s a comfy old wing-back chair, clad in green leather; a ceiling light, and a floor lamp that’s in just the right spot. A cylinder-top desk, two stained glass windows and lots of curious little mementos and artifacts make it the Kevin Cullen Museum.

To me, there’s nothing better, on a snowy winter day, than to go into my room, close both doors, find a good book and settle in. As I read Twain’s “Letters from the Earth,” I stopped now and then to look out the window and watch the snow grow deeper and deeper.

Florida’s OK, but give me the good old Midwest and its snow-globe winter mornings.

It must be hard to loaf properly when the grass needs mowing and the pool needs cleaning.

Danville native Kevin Cullen is a former Commercial-News reporter. Reach him at