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The Joys of Chilling Out

By   /   October 29, 2011  /   Comments

The cold weather that has recently hit the Albany area immediately got me thinking about the cold weather that I have experienced all my life before moving to the deep South in 1986. Being from the Chicago area, the cold weather here is NOTHING even close to what I have been through up north!

I used to work in downtown Chicago and travel the United States and I can remember one day when it was minus 58 (or so it seemed) and my nose was running and freezing before I could wipe it. Now THAT is cold! Of course we were dressed to handle that cold and were used to that type of thing in the wintertime.

One year, we lived in Wausau, Wisc., and I remember the average temperature in January of that year was minus 28. I am not kidding! We would take our kids ice skating at minus 15 as we sat in our car, with the heater on, and watched them. The summer there was fantastic for golf with the highest temp about 72 degrees.

At Thanksgiving and Christmas when we lived in the Ann Arbor area and also outside of New York City, we would go home to northern Illinois and get caught sometimes in snow storms and have to sleep on the floors of school gymnasiums. It would be cold and everyone would have their pets with them and a lot of the kids were sick. Every time they opened the gym doors, the cold air would rush in and bring up goose bumps on our skin. We were just happy to have a place to go and to get out of the storm.

One time, I was staying at a motel in Rensselaer, Ind. (a town that the Chicago Bears used for their practice facilities). The next day we had a big meeting in Valparaiso just up the road about 50 miles. The weather reports on the TV said to stay off the roads. I was young and so was the guy that I was working with and of course we didn’t listen. We got stuck in a snow bank in the middle of the road halfway to Valpo.

We couldn’t stay in the car and let the carbon monoxide get us so we got out and started walking down the road looking for a farm house to get some help. It was a blinding snow storm and we couldn’t see a quarter of a mile ahead. No one would let us in. Who in the world would be out in that storm except robbers, I imagine they were thinking. Finally, we found one to let us in and we stayed there all day until the snow plows came and got us out. That little deal really scared me and I never let that happen again, believe you me!

Growing up and working at my father’s service station, many times the snow banks that the winds would make were 10 to 12 feet high, or higher. Our home was next to the station and it was located along side a very busy highway between Chicago and Rock Island, Ill. Many times we would have travelers from Chicago get stranded and stay at our home until things cleared up. They became long term friends after that. Well, you surely wouldn’t do that these days with all the crazy people out in our country!

So, you can see, we have had a lot of experiences with Old Man Winter. I thought that I would never miss that weather after moving south in 1986, but we do. Every year, at Christmas time, we go to Lansing, Mich., to spend a couple weeks with our daughter, Sherry, and her family. I spend as much time as I can outside no matter how cold it is and no matter how much snow there is. Am I crazy, or what? I guess that we need our heads examined. What do you think? Don’t answer that. I think that I already know the answer to that one

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