We who live in the Northland feel a certain sympathy for our brothers and sisters in the Boston and New England area this winter. We know how it feels to experience a never-ending winter. We've been there. It's a good thing the pilgrims aren't landing on Plymouth Rock this winter. The winter we've experienced so far has paled in comparison to those winters most of the readers of this column remember.
Miss Goulasha was a flaming red head. She had big, brown eyes and she smelled good. She was my third-grade teacher and it was Valentine's week at my small community school. There was no doubt that I had a crush on this woman. She was everything a third-grade boy could want in a potential girlfriend. She had a soft voice, she moved like a swan, her touch was soft as velvet and she never lost her temper. I remember her wearing stylish dresses and high heels on most days. I was in love. But, so were just about all the boys in that third-grade class.
I don't care what anyone says, Groundhog Day is the real first official day of spring. Even though I know that up here on the northern tier a blizzard can be around any corner, when that furry rodent pokes his nubby little head out of his wintertime burrow, the wind becomes a little less severe, the snow suddenly starts to look beautiful and even though our sewers are frozen, we know that the bluebird sings somewhere. The whitewashed walls in our cow milking barn made note of this important occasion.
This past Saturday saw a mass of people clad in snowsuits, carrying buckets while striding confidently out to what is called the Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza on Gull Lake. It's a treat just to stand there and witness the various ways humans choose to challenge the northern Minnesota weather slipping across slick ice in pursuit of winning a new pickup. This year the crowd was greeted by global warming weather. Temps in the 30-above range saw some in the crowd relieving themselves of their coats and playing football in T-shirts.
If they'd had reality TV shows when I was growing up, I'd have made a million dollars. Well, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars; well, maybe they'd have paid me...
I didn't think much about holding public office as I was pulling cockleburrs up by their roots in those Iowa cornfields of my youth. There wasn't a thought about taxes, budgets, zoning issues or citizen complaints as I was dispatching sunflower roots from the soil. I lived a relatively carefree life in regard to politics. Legislators all over the country are returning to their collective seats as this column is written in early January.
This is the winter of a Minnesota sports lover's discontent. There are no more bright horizons on our screen. We have slumped into the depths of January with only a faint glimmer of hope for the coming year. Why do I no longer get upset when a Minnesota sports team bites the dust? Have I become numb to the pain of defeat? Do I no longer harbor any hope of ever attaining that pride that goes with winning? Am I depressed due to lack of sunlight or is it something more insidious? Over the past 20 some years I've provided a win/loss forecast for the Minnesota Twins.
New Year's Eve came and went without much fanfare during my early years on the farm. The Christmas rush is over and this week the world will rejoice by turning a page on the calendar to the year 2015. We've been receiving gift calendars for a couple of weeks now from businesses. It's an advertising ploy to get a business' name in front of you every time you turn to a new month. My wife and my business were no different. We always chose a calendar that sported old west scenes with wild horses and longhorn steers and cowboys.
The following Last Windrow "Classic" column was written in 1990 when my daughter was 5 years old.
Adolf was going to get a bull for Christmas. Jack and Tom were brothers who lived in the creases of the western Iowaloess hills. They had settled in a valley surrounded by high hills during the early 1900s. They worked together to clear the flat bottom land and pasture the steep sides of the yellow dirt hills. They built a modest white farmhouse there using their carpenter skills learned from relatives who had immigrated to this area from the Bohemian hills of the western Czech Republic. It was a quiet place to live.