I haven't yet recovered from that vacation 27 years ago. I doubt I ever will.

My parents, my sister and I were visiting my grandparents in Miami over Christmas--when the Florida weather is as unpredictable as next week's news.

One cool evening early in our stay my mother asked me if I wanted a sweater. I declined. Although she admits now that it was madness to trust a 2-year-old, she didn't insist. Naturally I came down with a ferocious fever and spoiled the rest of the trip for everyone.

From that point on, wherever I went, I was commanded to schlep a wrap. Ninety degrees in the shade: "Take a sweater," my mother would say, "I'm cold." Not a cloud in the sky: "Take a slicker, it might rain." Washington in August: "Take a jacket, you might need it."

Today I am extremely sensitive to cold--I'm the woman swathed in wool when everyone else is sleeveless. My husband and I constantly play dueling thermostats. Not only do I have an extra sweater and folding umbrella in my desk drawer and car trunk, I also keep handy--I blush to admit--a dry pair of socks.

Because you never know.