For as long as I can remember, my father hibernated. Come late November or early December, the familiar signs would be evident, the familiar preparations begin. Already some days unshaven, the hair seeming to mat his chest a bit more thickly than usual, whether illusorily or otherwise, he would stuff himself on lots of good greasy food, like potato pancakes and pork butts, give us all a bear hug, and shuffle off to bed for the winter. Of course, he didn't sleep straight through till spring, any more than any hibernating creature does - or any more than any of us sleeps uninterruptedly through till morning on a conventional night. He would stir every few days, eat a meal or two, perhaps a stack of pancakes soaked with honey, or some blueberry muffins similarly sweetened, drowsily read the paper or one of his comic books for an hour, yawn, scratch himself, and climb back under the covers. Christmas morning would find him rooting under the tree with the rest of us. But he would not emerge permanently until he could hear the ice breaking up on the river, so to speak, in February or March. Something in his metabolism seemed to need that yearly rhythm.
- From Consenting Adults or The Duchess Will Be Furious by Peter De Vries