Graphic This And That

When it gets cold, I’m not a popular person in the office. Why? I’m the person in the office reminding everyone it's not that cold outside. All I receive back are some grumbling words and mean looks.

Several years ago when I told a reporter in Iowa to buck up and deal with Mother Nature’s winter wrath, he questioned if I had anti-freeze in my veins.

C'mon folks, wasn't there a day in your life that you'd wish it would snow? I know I did — especially when school was out during Christmas break. My siblings and I would grab our sleds and go sliding down the hill at our farm. We'd spend all afternoon going up and down the hill until our feet and hands were almost frozen.

Then we run back into the farm house and warm up on hot chocolate and cookies fresh from the oven. It's was enough to warm our tummies until supper when mom always had a big pot of stew or soup on the stove.

Of course, many of us aren't that young anymore. Quite frankly, I can't see myself on a sled. I'd be more worried about what bones I would break.

A few years back, my younger brother and his neighbor decided to build a neat little snow run in their backyards. But here's the kicker — these two grown men spent most of one night spraying water on the run to make it nice and slick.

My eldest nephew encouraged me to make the first trip down the hill.  Why not? I wasn't going to let him think his aunt was scared to make the first trek.

While traveling down the hill, I missed a turn and ended up flying into the air and landing in another neighbor's backyard. Yes, my ego was bruised, however my nephew loves tell the story of Aunt Wandie's airborne sledding adventure.

I loved cold weather when I was growing up. Now, it's a bit too hot for me in the summer and not cold enough for me in the winter. Twenty degrees and below is my ideal temperature for winter.

Folks here at the newspaper office laugh at me when I tell them my home's thermostat set at 58 degrees during the day and about 62 degrees at night.

Hey, if I'm cold I throw on a fleece jacket. That usually solves the problem. If I'm sitting in a chair, I have a blanket.

To me, cold weather is really what you make of it.

When I first moved to the northern tundra of Minnesota back in 1986, I lived the first year in my Carhartt insulated bib overalls almost every day. Up in the hinterlands, I was told, it was: warmth first — fashion, second. Heck, there were winter days when my stocking cap never left my head. I even learned to type with my gloves on.

Last week, I told my co-workers I’ve experienced the polar plunge on New Year’s Eve back in my early years as a journalist.

Our local United Way hosted the local charity event on New Years' Eve. It was always a good time — and not for the faint at heart! The local fire department would cut a hole in ice on one of the lakes in town then don their winter dive gear to help people in and out of the water. The year I took the plunge, the local chapter raised more than $10,000.

Then there was the bobber contest. Our local Jaycees built a huge bobber and placed it on one of the local lakes after the first of the year. Jaycees would sell 100 chances at $100 each to see who would come closest to guessing the exact time and date the bobber break the ice and drop into the water.

The winner would take home $5,000 and the rest of the money was donated to a different local charity each year. Our newspaper even had a live webcam where people watched the bobber online as it neared the final days of dropping into the water.

When one lives in the frozen tundra of northern Minnesota for all most three decades, your learn how to enjoy winter.

I grew to love watching kids and adults skate and play hockey outside as well as developed a love for curling, ice fishing, skijoring and watching sled dog races and ice racing (Yes, they race cars on the frozen lakes).

Enjoying Mother Nature's finery and cold weather is what you make of it. You either like it — or you can grumble about it. It makes no difference to me.

Just don't expect me to say I hate the cold.