Our daughter was dressed in a snowsuit, boots and a stocking hat. It was tough to see her Halloween costume under all that garb. She and her mother were determined to go trick-or-treating. The blizzard winds were pounding on the door as we left the house that late October evening. It was the Halloween blizzard that is still talked about today in northern Minnesota. Hatched somewhere up in Canada, the storm came plowing down across North Dakota and targeted our area with screaming winds and snow so thick windshield wipers couldn't keep up.
The farm house phone rang seven long rings. It was the emergency call set up by the local phone company. Anyone on the line was expected to pick up if they heard that ring. It meant an emergency was at hand. Last week's terrible hurricane that hit the East Coast reminded me of that morning when we heard the seven rings. We had not heard it before and only one time after on our farm.
What do you do with the last week of August? Summer is pretty well spent and this is a time for deep thought. I hear the cicadas calling from the deep woods. I see squirrels burying acorns beneath the earth. The rose-breasted grosbeaks have left our bird feeders. There is something afoot. It's called fall.
Well, as country singer Vern Gosdin sang, "That Just About Does It, Don't It"? I'm about to retire from the bird feeding period of my life. About 1:30 a.m. on Friday of last week I heard a clattering of metal coming from the back deck of our house. I had a feeling of what it was. I was right.
Gramps spent the hailstorm in the bathtub. Last week's severe thunderstorms brought back memories of the storms that crossed our small farm in Lincoln Township, Plymouth County, Iowa, so many years ago - the days before modern radar was invented and we had to rely on our wits to determine if we were about to get blown off the earth or not. One learned early on to respect weather on the plains. It could kill you.
I just got a Facebook picture of my cousin and his wife sitting at a tiki bar somewhere in the tropics. Another friend and his wife are just back from a Caribbean cruise and are getting ready to go on another. Some of my friends are in Fort Myers getting ready to watch the first Minnesota Twins spring training game. It's snowing outside my window right now.
So, Minnesota will now be known as the place where the "coldest Super Bowl ever" was played. We're going to hear about this from sportscasters wearing Bermuda shorts and sleeveless T-shirts. Yes, we in the Gopher State know how to treat our visitors in the wintertime. We can actually prove to them that water freezes atop our lakes, water pipes freeze six feet underground, cars are sold complete with engine heaters, and furnaces don't turn off for at least three months.
OK, fess up now. How many of you have done the "Skol" Vikings cry this past week? I know many of you could care less about the Minnesota Vikings, but I also know there are many who live and die with the "purple." I know Todd's Tavern out there in Amherst, South Dakota, was donned with purple people. This column was written before the game, so I'm sure the slew water was flowing in anticipation of a win. (In Amherst, "slew water" is a traditional drink, just FYI). I would imagine a little "tiger meat" was eaten as well.
We've come a long way since the time when Lamar Jones strung telephone wire along our hog fence. Technology has truly entered my world. I have this thing in my pocket made of about 10 cents worth of metal and plastic. If I purchased a new one of these things, it might cost up to a thousand dollars. My piece of plastic didn't cost nearly that much, but people can be seen waiting in lines to purchase these pieces of metal and plastic every time a new model comes out. Funny they would do that.
Alas, I missed all of the "bargains" offered on Black Friday this year. In fact, I've missed all the bargains from any of the past Black Fridays. I'm thinking of that as we are at the doorstep of December when all good men should be thinking about possibly purchasing a Christmas present for someone. I feel somewhat guilty of not participating in Black Friday, but not too guilty.