It seems we’ve been having a real winter, at least until this week when warmer temps are expected. Knowing Missouri as we do, another arctic blast is sure to have us shivering and dashing indoors, icy fingers attacking any inch of exposed flesh.
The cold and yuck have been present in other parts of the country too — in the East, a cyclone packed a punch, and in the South it was so cold, that, according to a CNN news story, Floridian “iguanas were dropping out of trees like ripe mangoes.” (You may recall me writing about the proliferation of those critters in an earlier column. But that was when they were crawling about and not immobilized by the cold.)
Holding Out Hope
In actuality, winter in our area was lamb-like until Dec. 23, which happens to be my husband’s birthday. Spark hits the links in all kinds of weather, but was especially grateful for balmy conditions until mid-December.
Since then, he’s been putting in the basement with his Christmas gift, a “Craz-e” Ping putter with a square head that looks like a sledgehammer, but has lines to help you steer your Titleist to the hole. I scored with that present.
It appears Spark might be able to try it out on a real green, rather than a carpet strip in February. Recently he checked the long range forecast and sent his golfing buddies an email, suggesting they book tee times for Feb. 7, the first day it’s supposed to be rain-free and in the 50s.
In the Past
Let extreme weather hit, be it hot or cold, and we look to the past, bringing up extreme conditions we recall. Over the holidays, at a family gathering, Spark and I were talking about the December we moved into the house we built, the one we’ve lived in since 1989.
That year the winter was brutal, and in my journal I recorded the temperature on the date we moved in, Dec. 23, our friends pitching in to help us.
A week before there was tons still left to do. The downstairs family room and bedroom needed to be carpeted, wallpaper wasn’t complete, and plumbing and electrical work was lagging — but, “We have to move in on the 23rd,” I told the workers. “It’s my husband’s birthday.”
They made it happen, but it wasn’t easy. There was so much ice that, instead of bringing the huge roll of carpet through the house, they slid it down a small incline to the lower level and carried it in that way.
The actual temperature on the 23rd, as our good buddies hoisted our piano into the living room, set up beds and furniture, and even put up a Christmas tree for us to enjoy, was negative 15 degrees. That was the actual temperature. The day before it was 16 below.
The nasty weather conditions lingered, and the kids, off for Christmas break, didn’t go back to school for what seemed like weeks, as I recall. I had cross-country skis back then and joined my friend Jane skiing around town. When it warmed up a bit, we also took our girls sledding at Franklin County Country Club, but the elevated tees proved treacherous because of the speed the kids built up zooming along.
The ice was so treacherous you had to put on golf spikes to go out to get your newspaper or the mail.
We have a ways to go to top that winter, but even 1989 can’t compare to the record set for the coldest day in Missouri; on Feb. 13, 1905, it was 40 degrees below zero in Warsaw.