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RYAN BAKKEN: Grin and shiver

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opinion Grand Forks, 58203
Grand Forks Herald
(701) 780-1123 customer support
Grand Forks North Dakota 375 2nd Ave. N. 58203

The temperature was in the low 30s and the wind was howling Wednesday morning as I drove to work, moping about a winter that won’t exit.

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As I headed downhill on the eastern slope of the DeMers overpass, I spotted the Muddy Rivers’ marquee. It read: “Only 7 Months Til Winter.”

My frown turned into a grin that turned into a smile that turned into a giggle that turned into belly laughs.

That’s funny stuff, at least for those few among us who still have a sense of humor about a winter that started early and stayed late, with persistent below-normal temperatures.

I called to thank Kim Blackmun, the Muddy Rivers manager, for the much-needed mirth on her sign.

“We’re renovating our banquet rooms so we have no events to advertise,” she said. “So I was looking for something that would make people laugh a little bit after our long, hard winter.”

She found it.

Long, cold season

The winter that won’t surrender remains the hot topic in our flat-and-frigid slice of heaven. Winter’s persistence is dominating more conversations than those involving old fogeys such as yours truly. Even the youngsters in their 50s are squawking about it.

And those in their 40s and 30s and 20s, too. (Teens haven’t noticed, however, as they’re glued to their smart phones.)

When I was young, I was bewildered why the weather was such of a popular conversation subject. I wondered why the local news wasted much of its 30 minutes on the past day’s weather instead of focusing itself on more important things like Minnesota Twins highlights and funny-shaped vegetables.

Nowadays, it’s about tolerating the news before John Wheeler appears on the screen.

Unlike most previous winters, the disgust with this year’s has been its longevity, not its ferocity. Sure, it’s been colder than usual, but how much time do most of us spend outdoors in the winter, anyway?

We’re steeled for November, December, January, February and even March. But April? That’s supposed to be spring or at least a reasonable facsimile. April is supposed to bring hope, if not comfort. At the very least, its showers should be producing May flowers.

Be comforted that spring is on its way, even if it takes until July.

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