bugs, we're are firmly under the thumb of the icy arctic. Squirm
as we might, we're in for the duration. If you don't live in the
Northern states, you truly are missing a unique experience - a
where I duck paper clips, empty Styrofoam cups and spitballs from
the rest of the Herald's newsroom.
do we tell that this is record-setting cold?
can tell it's really cold by the different sound the snow makes
when you walk on it at minus 44 degrees. Lift one flap of your "mad
bomber" cap and listen: It sounds like someone rubbing a big
balloon very hard.
it's a water balloon, don't fear if it breaks because the water
instantly turns to snow or ice. Yes, we can boil a pan of water,
open the door and throw it into the air, and the Spirit of the North
will touch it and magically, it's snow.
something you can't do in Florida or Texas - and don't say that
even if you lived there, you wouldn't want to. You don't know what
you are missing until you've lived here and seen the magic of creating
your own snowstorm.
for any reason or whatever the dare, put your tongue on metal in
this weather. You will be awthul thoree.
is a time to stand by your car. Kicking, cussing or pleading with
the shiny metal won't help. If the whining of your car is reasonably
loud - it rattles and grumbles - it probably will start.
of the Southern cars like to hibernate in weather like this. And
if you hear a feeble cough, cough and then a click, click, you have
to worry. Start thinking about bank loans and holes in your checking
account or thumbing a ride to work for a few days.
visited Oklahoma a few summers ago. A couple on the street happened
to notice my car had a cord and a plug-in coming out of the hood.
They thought I had an electric car. Nooooo, I said; that is a block
heater for winter. There was a look of fear on their faces. They
had heard about North Dakota winters and didn't want to know any
guess when you've lived through tornadoes that can take you to the
Land of Oz and thunder and lightning storms that will can scare
the "bejeezus" out of you, arctic weather sounds too much
is a kind of badge of strength and honor to have a car so tough
that you don't have to plug it in or garage it. But saying "I've
never had to plug my car in," is asking for the car gods to
take away your driving privileges.
real test of that statement comes in weather such as we've had these
past few days - minus 29, minus 35 then the record setter, minus
44 Friday. I plug my car in, put it in the garage and even ask if
the old Toyota wanted a nice thick blanket. I baby my car and have
great respect for it. Hear that, car gods?
do need your car. You do not want to be on foot in this weather.
I emptied the trash at minus 35 Thursday; I accidentally threw my
glove into the big trash container and couldn't get it. But it was
so cold, my hand was burning by the time I got back to my apartment,
a little more than a few yards away.
there was a little wind that day. Wind makes the cold much worse
- you know, the wind-chill factor. Today, at minus 44 with very
little wind, it's probably about 60 below. How's that for chilly?
the night is still and cold like it was last night, the sky is magnificent.
The stars are clear and the half moon seems as though you can reach
up and touch it. Unfortunately, you can enjoy that beautiful night
only for a few minutes or risk becoming a permanent fixture on your
heart, people of the North: February is coming, then March, and
we will be out of the freeze and looking for the purple crocus -
harbinger of summer. In spite of the wonders of the Arctic freeze,
that sounds good to me.