Tag Archives: Winter

A grumble and a review

I was AWOL last night again. I am keenly cognizant of this sin. But the sin isn’t mine. I blame winter. It was winter’s fault, really.

Stopped at Arby’s after work. When I’d finished and came out, a woman, who had parked next to me, said, “Your tire is flat.” I looked, and behold it was even as she had said.

So I went back inside and called AAA. If there’s a lousy time to call for road assistance, it’s the first cold night of a cold snap. I sat on hold for about 45 minutes, and then waited about an hour and a half before a young guy came around to help me. Apparently he was the special auto club Flat Tire Squad. He’d been running around changing tires for hours, and had hours to go. I pitied him, and tipped him when he left.

Today I took the car to the shop, and had to get a ride to work (and back). I’d shredded my tire. Needed to buy two new ones. But I endured. I survived. I met the Challenge of the North.

I need to get a malamute, and name him King.

Here’s a short book review:

Nailed It!

One of our readers sent me a devotional book. I’m not a great booster of devotional books, but this reader – for reasons entirely inscrutable to me – thought I might appreciate a book of sarcastic devotions. So I agreed to examine Nailed It! 365 Devotions for Angry or Worn-Out People, by Anne Kennedy.

I haven’t read it all the way through yet, but I like it. This is very much in my line. If Osteen has lost you, if Peale appalls you, if you find Schuller shallow, you’ll likely find Nailed It! a relief. The book abounds in gritty, realistic wisdom and great lines: “Anyway, don’t be so worried about offending your friends and neighbors with the good news of Jesus Christ. What’s the worst that could happen? Someone could throw a rock at your head? You’re going to die sometime anyway.” Or: “It’s the best kind of praying, this praying without enough faith.”

Anyway, I like this devotional better than any I’ve ever encountered, I think. I’m going to make it my daily devotional in 2017. Recommended. A great gift, if you have friends who are anything like me, heaven help you.

It’s a harsh, yellow world in the winter

It’s as if the director had called out, “Cue the snow!” And suddenly winter got dumped on us. I have a vague idea the scenario was much the same last year. A long fall, with relatively mild temperatures. It snowed a couple times, but Mother Nature, in a mellow mood, perhaps from a couple Margaritas too many, forgot about it and let it all melt away. And then, last Saturday, she suddenly remembered she’d dropped behind on her quota. So she dumped several inches all at once. The temperatures dropped like… like my car keys from my insensate fingers on a morning when it’s 20 below. And suddenly it was the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (if you’re Andy Williams. Who is dead. Which is the only thing that would make winter bearable, in my opinion).

Now and then I ask myself, why do I live someplace where I hate the weather at least a third of the year? The obvious answer is that I’m masochistic and self-destructive. Other reasons are that I tried living in the south, and it didn’t work for me. No spring (I love spring). Too many bugs. Too much distance from Norwegian-American culture. No Viking reenactment groups.

The ideal thing would be to be one of those old farts who migrates south during the winter months. Stick it out here till Christmas, then toboggan south to Florida or Arizona, where I can doze in the sun wearing one of those Cuban shirts and Bermuda shorts, maybe with socks and sandals to complete the ensemble. That plan, however, calls for a) retirement, and/or b) lots of money.

Not a good plan, really. We all know that guys who retire die of coronaries within a few months (unless they’re cops who, according to the TV shows, always get shot the week before retirement). Too much comfort and ease will kill you faster than anything. If you live in the subarctic and work until you drop, you can expect to live to 90 or 100. The Siberian Health plan, much admired by Democrats.

You won’t enjoy it, of course. But you’ll be alive. Because if there’s one thing nature abhors, it’s human comfort.

As every Minnesotan knows.

Cold comfort


Minneapolis in January. Artist’s conception.

Thoughts thought while closing my garage door:

My back yard seems like an entirely different place in winter. Places where I could walk easily in summer are hard going — or dangerous — in winter. The contours are different. The colors are different. That muddy place I try to avoid in summer doesn’t even exist (conceptually) now.

It’s like I’ve moved.

I’ve lived in the north and I’ve lived in the south. As I’ve said many times, I hate winter with a hot hate that I only wish would warm me up.

But winter does give us the opportunity to travel, so to speak. My yard in Florida was pretty much the same all the time. My yard in winter is a foreign country.

Not a very nice foreign country, I’ll grant. But it’s a change. A poor man’s holiday. In Siberia.