Whitesburg KY
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Partly sunny
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Believe it or not, some people love the cold

Points East


Sometime before I noon I ran outside to get the newspaper on this brisk January Saturday. Now its mid-afternoon, I’m inside the house, and my feet still feel like they’re in a tub of ice.

The outside temperature is 24 degrees and it’s not going to get any warmer. It’s supposed to get down to 8 tonight, which, according to the same paper that is responsible for my cold feet, is the coldest it’s been since February 16 of last year. Same paper says the record low for January 19 was minus 17 in 1994. I’m reasonably sure that I never went outside to see what that might have felt like.

In the meantime I’m sitting here thinking that bears and groundhogs are really much smarter than we give them credit. Those of us who can’t afford to move to the Bahamas from October until April should, at least, be allowed the option of hibernation.

On the other hand, some people love this dreary cold.

Back in the ’70s I worked for several years with a fellow from Wisconsin whose name is David Schroder. We were neighbors in Berea at the time and on days like this, Dave would be complaining that a heat wave was passing through.

He lived just a matter of steps from the Berea Country Club and he, along with his children, were frequent guests out on the golf course throughout the winter months. Dave’s recreation did not, however, involve a club with which to knock around a little white ball.

Anytime there was a snow on the ground, he and the kids would be out there cross-country skiing on the fairways. I seriously doubt that anyone in Berea had ever seen cross-country skis before the Schroders showed up in town. And I don’t see many of them now.

The Schroders’ family car was a four-wheel drive International Scout. Half a dozen of us car-pooled between Berea and London while Dave was here, which meant that every six days or so it was his turn to drive. Needless to say, the all-wheel traction was seldom necessary on I-75. On the other hand, as far as he was concerned, there was no such thing as weather so bad we couldn’t get to work.

If a foot or even 18 inches of snow was on the ground, and that did happen several times, and the interstate was closed, Schroder was especially motivated to get to work. This meant that he could drive his Scout down the median if jackknifed trucks had the highway blocked.

We once drove all the way to London after a big snowstorm, the only automobile on the road in either direction, only to discover that there was no electricity in our office building because the storm had blown down the power lines.

David figured out right away that he was not going to have any luck trying to get any of his coworkers into skiing, but on weekends when the outside temperature was sub-zero he seemed especially irritated that nobody wanted to join him to frolic in the great outdoors.

In warmer weather we sometimes went fishing together. Early one Saturday morning, in the dead of winter, when it was actually much colder than it is today, my phone rang right at daybreak.

It was Schroder on the line.

“Isn’t there someplace around here where we could go ice fishing?” he wanted to know.

“What on earth would we do with ice if we caught some?” I asked him. “My freezer’s already full.”

Anyway, Dave and I still stay in touch every month or so and, on a whim, just minutes ago, I Googled up Sioux City, Iowa, where he has lived for quite some time.

The high today is supposed to get up to 6 degrees there and the low will be minus 14. It’s supposed to pretty much stay that way for at least the coming week.

Dave Schroder is probably out in his shirt sleeves doing yard work and all of a sudden it does not feel so cold in Paint Lick after all.


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