Monday, February 10, 2014

The Coldest Winter

Okay, friends.  I know you've all been dying with anticipation to read my next spectacular blog post.  But guess what?  I'm writing a book instead!  (Pray for me and wish me luck!)

So, I've decided to re-publish some of my older posts.  Hopefully you won't mind reading them again.   I should be writing on my other blog soon, too, but I'm not making any promises.

I originally posted this in August 2012.  It seems a bit more fitting to post it now, in the middle of the longest, coldest winter ever.  (By the way, if you know me, you know that I. LOVE. SNOW.  And this winter has not turned me off yet, although I occasionally receive death threats when my status update on Facebook asks, "Don't you just love this weather???")

I grew up in Northern Michigan (i.e. the Upper Peninsula, the UP, da Yoop).  It's the closest you can get to Canada without actually being in Canada.  But the people still talk like Canadians, eh?  I find it humorous when I go home now to hear such a distinct accent from dem Yoopers when I only live 400 miles south.

I don't have to exaggerate much (but I might exaggerate a little) when I say that the winters were cold in the UP.  They were bitter cold, the kind of cold that causes a truck engine to make a low-pitched squeaaaal-rrr-rrr, and then swear and go back to sleep.  It was a dangerous kind of cold that would cause people in current times to stock their pantry with canned food, cancel every activity for the next 3 months, lock their doors, stuff something like this under every door to keep out the evil cold, and hope to God they had enough furniture to put in the fireplace in case they ran out of wood.

This cat-themed draft stopper can be found at, or if you happen to live in a place like the UP where almost everyone is a taxidermist, you can have one made with all the stray cats that wander up to your house.

Even on those coldest of days - the days that my father had to use an engine warmer to get my old Delta 88 started - I must have sneaked past my parents when I went to school on basketball game days, because I would wear my cheerleading skirt to school.  With bare legs.  Or sometimes I would wear flat shoes.  In the snow.  Without socks.  To this day, I'm absolutely certain I have permanent damage in my legs and feet, which never warm up unless they're being roasted over an open fire. 

One day, my best friend Cari came by with her parents.  She is also my cousin - you can't be choosy when you live in a village of 300 people.  She invited me to accompany her to wherever she was headed, but first we had to stop at yet another cousin's house.  (Yes, everyone is related in the UP, get over it.) When we arrived at said cousin's house, we told her parents we would wait in the van.  They assured us that they would only be a few minutes.  They didn't even keep the van running for heat.  Why would they?  It was only -30 F.  Being high school girls who don't care how close we got to each other, we huddled up on the front seat of her parents' van so we could stay warm.  We put our feet on the dashboard so they could stay toasty in the sunlight. (Ha!)

As we goofed around and acted like silly teenage girls, we simultaneously threw our heads back in laughter and kicked our feet.


A giant fissure appeared in the van's dashboard.

So we did what any two level-headed teenagers would do once we realized how brittle the dashboard material had become in the subzero weather:  we pushed just a little more.  Just to see what would happen.

A few more times and the entire dashboard disintegrated in a flash of 1970's goldenrod glory.


At that very moment, yet another relative came out of the house, observed our predicament, and proceeded to laugh so hard that he wet his pants.

What do you tell your parents when you destroy the entire dashboard of the family vehicle? We considered going into the house and playing it cool, like, "hey, Auntie Betty and Uncle Tom, we thought we'd just come inside and warm up a bit."  And then when we all went out to the van, they could be all shocked and say, "What happened to the dashboard?" and we would be all, "Wow, I can't imagine how something like that could happen."

In the end I think they figured out it was us.  And I think the punishment must have been inordinately lenient because I don't remember what it was, except maybe a little lecture and possibly some yelling on both of our parents' parts.

The moral of this story is:  there really isn't one.  Except that you should wear socks in the winter.

If you give lots of happy feel-good comments, I promise to start posting more!  :)

1 comment:

  1. I haven't checked, but even tho I'm a troll, I might be from farther north than you, by absolute latitude. . . I remember waiting for the bus one morning in -30F; the lady whose house was closest to the bus stop opened up her garage so we could at least get out of the wind. But only after an hour, and it was still colder than hell (working from a Dantean model of hell, dontchaknow. . .)


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