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That is cold ...

Remember the Johnny Carson lead-in jokes that started “It was so cold ...” and someone would ask “How cold was it?”

Well, sometimes in Western South Dakota those aren’t jokes.

I personally remember, as a child, opening my parents’ front door and facing a level sheet of snow piled higher than the doorknob. While in college, I remember my roommate’s can of beer sitting by the window pane and blowing up because it had frozen solid. As an adult, I remember having to put oil in the engine during a bitter cold trip, and the plastic container of oil on the back floorboard was frozen into goo. Once while I was at my mother’s home in Lead, the police were called throughout the night because shots were being fired. Actually, the snow-laden trees became so cold that huge branches and some trunks were loudly shattering from the weight. While coyote hunting, a freshly oiled rifle didn’t fire because the firing pin only slowly oozed to the bullet. Your warm breath passing over your moustache makes it an icy piece of fur that crunches when touched.

Sometimes (very few times) cold can be fun. Everyone has spit just to see if it is so cold that the moisture freezes mid-air and rolls across the snow. Who hasn’t thrown a piece of plastic against something else to see the frozen plastic shatter into a hundred pieces? When I had longer hair, I would sometimes run outside while it was still a bit damp from the morning shower, and it would break off shorter after flash-freezing. I have seen basketballs left outside that become shards of rubber with an attemped bounce. When you shout outside on a frozen day, the sound seems to be so clear and it carries forever.

Please, I don’t need any more horror stories of how stupid some kids can be by licking a flagpole or the pump handle. Don’t do it kids!

I hate it when a heavy snow starts to melt and that night the temperature drops. Cars are frozen in place. Icicles hang as prison bars to the ground, or hang in sheets that allow only a translucent shimmer to pass to the house windows. Flags are frozen stiff and their ropes become part of the pole. Have your ever tried to dig under a sheet of ice to find your child’s boots that were accidentally left outside the warm day before? Car windows frost over on the inside.

I once placed a cup of hot coffee on my car roof as I scraped the windows. I counted three other guys who were driving to work with cups frozen to their car roofs.

Despite the romantic idea of walking hand-in-hand in a winter wonderland, do NOT kiss your girlfriend then. Talk about a moment frozen in time.

No, super cold weather is good for only one thing – staying inside. Then is the time to wrap yourself with a warm blanket to read a book or just sit by a warm fire. Hot chocolate is best then. Better yet, you could share that blanket, fire and hot chocolate with the one you love.