I love me a good Indian Summer. With all due respect to my native friends, or rather friend I think I only have one official Native American friend, official in that he’s an enrolled member of a tribe, I think he said I could still say Indian Summer. My definition of Indian Summer is a few weeks of gorgeous delightfully pleasant weather we get after the first nip of winter weather, usually in October. It’s a good thing, like the Indians are bringing us something nice before the cold sets in, aka the Thanksgiving Myth of happy Pilgrims free from the religious oppression of Europe, landed in America where they could now become the oppressors rather than the opressees enjoying a delightful meal of turkey, cornbread, garlic mash and green bean casserole with the benevolent and loving Wampanoag people who forgave them that enslavement deal for a couple days and brought them good things to eat and helped the survive the winter.
I digress. Indian Summer. Then I think about April 2013 in Minnesota. After three nice days in March we got an extra month of winter around here. Snow, and lots of it, cold temperatures, nothing thawed like it was supposed too… are there is there a name for that extra winter? Something about a people who gives promises of good times to come and then swipes them away? What COULD we call that? Hmmm.
What have we been through here in Minnesota? Local weather guy Paul Douglas pointed out that between Sunday morning and Tuesday afternoon there places in this state that experienced a 100 degree change in temperatures.
Paul Douglas is full of crap. There’s no way that it was more than 70 degrees. Childs play for the land of lakes where weather is a theatre controlled by the same unerring laws of natures that govern the movement of the planets in the orbits and rotation of our Earth around its axis, which is what really creates the unending progression of seasons which delight us so here in Minnesota, and fill our conversations with incessant whining while at the same time giving us pride and collective strength as we brag to friends and family less subject to Mother Nature’s inclemency’s that to live here takes guts and fortitude not found in more southerly climes.
To which I say, in the tenderest manner, bull<space>shit. My son, the Alabama guy, spit his McDonalds diet coke all over the front window of my car when he heard on the radio, on Sunday afternoon, a day when it didn’t get out of the 40’s, that by Tuesday we would be dealing with “extreme” heat, maybe even pushing…. 90 degrees.
We may be proud of the fact that there are times here when stepping outside in the wrong clothing could be fatal in a matter of minutes and that we survive it, but give us a little heat and we melt like fucking popsicle. Shee it.
I remember the one and only time I took by precious bride to visit my folks in Stockton California. It was August. Mid August, oven season in the Great Central Valley. We had started our journey (and this is the only appropriate use of the word friends. Your weight loss, professional development, childrearing years etc. are not Journeys, stop using that word for that stuff, it’s just gawd damned annoying.) in San Francisco, it was about 60 degrees. As we made our way over the Altamont Pass and descended into the valley, where on a clear day in winter you can easily see across the valley from the Altamont to the Sierra Nevada, a distance of about 100 miles, there was nothing but shimmering heat and haze. We pulled into Stockton the comfort of our car AC cranking away and passed the bank when Mrs S made the following comment, “It’s 1:15? I thought it was like 3:00.”
When we stopped and opened the door to the car, she realized her mistake. It was 3:00 and it was every bit of 115. Brutal. But not like I didn’t go out and do things back in the day, after all it’s a dry heat eh? We must not have invented dehydration before about 1980 because I can’t ever remember anyone ever worrying about it, or about us kids paying out side in the heat. Hell they MADE us play in the heat, and told us not to drink water to avoid cramping up.
Strange times we live in, why I hear nowadays parents’ chain smoking in cars with the widows closed is bad for the children in some way. That was a game even Granndma got into. Smoking that is.
So where in Minnesota we’ve passed the season where a can of beer in your gloved hand starts freezing in about 5 minutes and finally, FINALLY seems to have reached a point where the snow, at least sticking snow, is behind us for 4 or 5 months. Not saying we won’t have another frost yet, but snow is probably gone. Today I smelled my first cut lawn, neighbors are starting to get out there with their mowers and hacking away. The raking is in fill swing. Street sweepers came along today to harvest as much of the winters sand and gravel as they could, streets are clean, flowers are budding, things are looking up.
Ooo Morels will be here soon, now THAT is good news.
And then you realize the days get shorter in 4 short weeks. Happy Summer everyone.