With the cold and snow, we are in a survival mode this winter. People in the southern latitudes would be lost as there are certain seldom discussed, unwritten rules, about living here. When these rules are not followed, our officers are usually summoned.
A genuine blizzard will slow us down. Otherwise, snow is just an inconvenience until you start pushing it with your front bumper. After all, four-wheel drive is a necessity. We know that it is meant for just one thing, going through snow. Four-wheel drive won’t help a bit on ice or when our vehicle starts sliding. Of course, down in the Cities, they don’t understand this concept. That is why a favorite winter past time is to drive down to the Cities and count the number of SUVs upside down in the freeway medians.
The primary purpose of ice is not for drinks, but rather for drilling holes in and pulling fish up through it. To do this properly, you never want to be the first to drive out onto a frozen lake. Let someone else do it. If they don’t go through, you at least have a shot at it. Every year, someone forgets this rule.
We all know that outside temperature is bearable if you just “dress for it.” Yeah right. The other morning, at 6:30 a.m., a semi tractor-trailer combination pulled out of the L&M Distribution Center onto Highway 169. The trailer dropped off the tractor blocking the two eastbound lanes. The truck driver climbed down from this rig to see what happened. An approaching car came out of the darkness with the driver unaware that the lanes were blocked. When headlights illuminated the trailer, the driver cranked his steering wheel to the right, aiming for the snow bank, precisely where the truck driver was running. The car struck the truck driver and then buried itself under the trailer. A bizarre accident. The actual temperature was minus 40 with 62 below wind chill. I think it was the coldest weather in which any of us have ever had to stand outside.
During the northland in the winter, we seldom place our hands in our pockets while walking. We need them to block our fall. So far this winter, we have had about 20 medical emergency calls where people have slipped and fallen on icy roadways or sidewalks.
One thing we learn as a small child, usually the hard way, is that we do not stick our tongue onto anything that is metal. A young girl forgot this rule over the weekend and licked a metal pipe. A frantic call brought Officer Justin Edmundson to the rescue. Seeing the girl’s predicament, he quickly poured his cup of coffee over the girl’s tongue, saving the day.
Sometimes, people don’t want to make it too obvious that they are not from the north. They try to blend in. Sometimes, they do so by standing nonchalantly under a snow-covered awning or sloped roof as the temperature eases toward thawing. It soon becomes obvious that they aren’t from around here.
The first day of spring is 45 days away. Until then, maybe the two most important unwritten rules to remember is to always use the facilities before dawning your snowmobile suit and never kick the ice chunks off the wheel well of your car while wearing tennis shoes. Think spring!