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No escaping Minnesota winters

After my first week in Dodge County, I thought perhaps because we were down in the “Banana Belt” of Minnesota that we would escape the frigid cold of northeastern Minnesota. No such luck. Old man winter blew into the county snarling traffic on local streets and causing a plethora of accidents on Hwy. 14.
By northeastern Minnesota standards, it was no big deal.
However, Tuesday morning brought with it bone-chilling -6 temperatures. Ah, that’s more like the Minnesota I remember.
In fact, I was sharing a story with one of our employees regarding some of the polar plunges that hit my hometown back in the late 1990s. In fact, Tower hit a minus 60 one morning (that’s a small town on the Iron Range). That polar vortex shut the entire state down.
That’s what my Norwegian ancestors would refer to as “Uffda!”
Since that plunge below zero, my family and I (my wife, Tricia and our three daughters) have lived in more moderate climes. San Diego County (in a farm/ranch town situated in the Valley of the Sun), Tahlequah, Okla. (capital of the Cherokee Nation), and Springfield, Mo. were hometowns we settled in over the past 12 years. In each of those communities, the locals would freak out if a one-inch snowfall hit the area. No one ventured out on the highways. No one showed up for work. (Yes, it did snow a few times in Ramona, but it was gone by the afternoon.)
Last Tuesday morning I was forced to dig out my tossle hat, my buckskin choppers with the wool mitten liners and heavier Browning socks. It reminded me of the times as a child that I’d think nothing of charging out the door to catch the school bus without a hat, no mittens or boots.
Well, I digress. On my way to work Tuesday, local radio stations were predicting a warming trend starting Thursday, extending into Saturday.
It’s the yo-yo affect that was more common in Windsor, Colo., where we owned a small paper in that Front Range town. Our weeks would have 70-degree days followed by snow and near zero temperatures. I guess it had something to do with the Rocky Mountains rugged terrain and the Chinook winds that would follow that mountain range’s trek from north to south.
Ironically, one of our daughters (Alisa) lives within an earshot of Windsor. Our oldest (Carrie) and our middle daughter (Erica) have settled in the Twin Cities area with their families.
Now that we’re settling into our little house on the hill, some of my boyhood memories are flooding back. I love the crunch of packed snow underfoot and the crisp, cool wind-blown air that has found its way into our town from Canadian provinces to the north.
I’m finally settling into the realization that as long as I live in Minnesota, there’s no escaping the cold, snow and wind.
Stay warm out there.
Note: At the time I wrote the first “Back Home Again” column I was not aware that the same title was one of the late John Denver’s classic folks songs back in the day.

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