My sister and I grew up literally a stone’s throw from the Canadian border. Not kidding. We would sit on the doorstep of a house right beside the “line” and watch people run across so that they could touch the US / Canadian marker, then being able to say that they had been to Canada. We couldn’t see the novelty, of course.
Living so close to the border, it was damned cold. I remember staying home from school because the high temperature that day was going to be -20°. That would translate to approximately -40° in the middle of the night. After a few days and nights of that kind of weather, you wouldn’t even hear the furnace running.
You’re probably wondering why anybody would live in that kind of environment. Simple. We didn’t know any better.
Block heaters were a necessity. Every seen a car with an electrical plug hanging out of the grill? That’s a block heater. Keeps the block from freezing and cracking by keeping the coolant in the system warm. People who had garages used them as an added precaution.
Snow squeaks when it gets real cold. Even with snowmobile boots on. (Another prerequisite. Pretty, no. Warm, YES!!) It’s a fingernails on a blackboard sound and even now (I haven’t lived up there for 28 years) my mind can conjure it up instantly.
I can also instantly retrieve the smell of wet wool mittens from my memory. And how every kid I knew had shiny forearms on their snowsuits from wiping their noses there. Then, I thought nothing of it. Now, EWWWW!!
So, when it’s that cold, you don’t breathe the air directly into your lungs. Makes you cough like a 3 pack a day smoker and your eyes water like crazy, which promptly turns to ice on your cheeks. Breathing it through a scarf is a much better idea.
You would think that being in such a cold part of the country that we kids would be skiers. Uh uh. Cost too much to get to the ski slopes plus lift tickets, skis, etc. We were all skaters. The river behind the fire house that trickled most of the year would turn into our own personal miles long skating rink from November through March. It wasn’t the greatest ice, but we weren’t Olympic skaters either. The weather would warm up and snow, then the cold front would sweep through blowing the snow to kingdom come and freezing anything that thawed. Voila, more ice. If the mood were to ever strike us, we could have skated 10 miles north to Huntington, Quebec or 5 miles south to Constable, NY. Very Hans Brinker.
One more reminiscence before I hang this up. Sledding was another past time that was fun (and dangerous) because we slid down a very long hill that we first iced over with water. Lots of water from the hand pump in the center of “town”. At the bottom of the hill was a huge tree of some sort. It wasn’t good to hit that. If you stayed to the left you would finally come to a stop in the middle of the river. The first time I saw Chevy Chase on his flying saucer in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, I flashed back to Bonner’s hill and all of us with our sleds/saucers/toboggans. And brainlessness.
Did I mention how we did idiotic things? The most moronic had to do with the guys that we hung out with, and icy roads, and hanging on to car bumpers.
I don’t know how any of us lived to tell these stories.
I need a nice hot cuppa coffee.
If this story whets your appetite for more wintery tales, wrap a blanket around yourself and click here for Sunday Scribblings.
My friend loaned me the first and second seasons of Eureka from the SciFi channel — I am so totally hooked!! Set in a fictional town in the Pacific Northwest, its inhabitants are the brightest and most brilliant scientists in the world — with an average Joe for a sheriff that might not have the intelligence but always saves the day. These are just a few video clips “advertising” Eureka made products.
- Sleepy ::
- Thanksgiving ::
- Fifteen ::
- Authority ::
- Bangs ::
- Curled ::
- Young man ::
- Surprised ::
- Mistake ::
- Handle it ::
Dopey and Doc
tons and what do you get (Tennessee Ernie Ford song) (And Hootin’ Anni kindly pointed out that it’s 16 tons, not 15 tons — thanks Anni!!)
what my GrandDolly desperately needs to keep the hair out of her face
what I wish my hair would do
nothing comes to mind
don’t like to be
don’t make as many as I used to
what to do instead of griping about it
I am grateful that I was born with a woman’s right to vote already in place. And I am grateful to all of the suffragettes that worked so diligently to make that right a reality.
I have voted in many elections, but it always seems that voting in the presidential election was the real deal. The other elections that I participated in were just a dress rehearsal. No matter who you voted for, you were expressing your opinion. It’s a very heady experience, don’t you agree?
And on yet another level……
I wore my “I Voted!” sticker proudly all day. The next day on my way to work, my eyes strayed to the “check engine” light that had been mocking me for a month. A reason for this light can’t be pinned down. Car runs smooth as silk and has power to spare. Perhaps a short in the bulb itself? Whatever. I pulled my little sticker off my jacket and plopped it over the light. Problem solved. I am grateful for a second time.
There are more grateful essays at Sunday Scribblings.
I’m thinking that anybody under the age of, say, 35 won’t be able to relate to this.
I see a stranger in my mirror every day. I still feel like no more than 25 inside, but my outside leaves no doubt that the 25 year old ship has sailed.
I remember my Nanny telling me that as you age, the days and weeks and years will start to fly by. Being all of maybe 8 years old then, I couldn’t comprehend her statement.
I not only comprehend it now, I’m searching for ways to make it slow down just a bit. Passing time is not always kind to us ladies.
I had always expected that I would have a few wrinkles. My Nanny had laugh lines so I prepared for them also. I’m glad to say that since I quit smoking a few years ago, the damage that I had forced upon my skin has reversed itself to a degree. But.
The real surprise is that even though I don’t have nearly the wrinkles that I thought I would have, my face and features seem to be fading away. Literally. Fading. Away. Why didn’t somebody tell me that this would happen?
The color of my eyebrows has dimmed to half of what they used to be. My eyelashes have thinned and also lost so much color. The most odd thing about my eyelashes is that they WILL NOT hold a curl when I use my eyelash curler. Beats me why.
Not ever being one to wear makeup, I now will hardly go out without it. I had always wondered why little old ladies would draw their eyebrows on with the blackest eyebrow pencil they could find. Now I know why. But if anybody every catches me doing that, please wrestle me to the ground and take it away from me.
My hair has noticeably thinned (not that it was so thick to begin with) and the color has washed out. Having a foil done at my hairdresser’s every 3 months is now a way of life. Going out in public without my hair washed, blow dried, curling ironed, picked out and hairsprayed until it is bulletproof is not an option. I would sooner go out with a paper bag over my head.
Gee, you’d think that I’d be sitting home crying in my beer over this loop that life has thrown at me. Some days I do. On those days, I try to invite only myself to my little pity party. Mostly, it doesn’t bother me so much. Hey, I pulled off 54 years relatively unscathed and if I wasn’t so modest, I would tell you that for my age, I don’t look half bad. (She blushes prettily at the thought of admitting that.) It’s more that a lot of people could say and I have so much to be thankful for.
I may be seeing a stranger in the mirror, but I still have those really great 25 year old looking legs. Just ask Sweet Baboo.
Do you see a stranger in the mirror?? You can read more stories about them here at Sunday Scribblings.
He was so happy when I finished them this past weekend. I think that it took about 10 days to knit them, start to finish. Look how excited he was!!