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​Musings from the Polar Vortex

by Sabrina Hornung | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Editorial | January 30th, 2019

Tom Bixby vs. the elements - photograph by Sabrina Hornung

As midwesterners, I like to think we’re the masters of small talk and with our ever changing weather patterns there’s plenty to talk about. Winter blues are running rampant this time of year but morale is relatively high here at the HPR office. While record-breaking cold temperatures sweep through the midwest thanks to that pesky polar vortex we’re trying our best to stay positive.

I once had a neighbor who moved from Portland (Portland, Oregon not to be confused with Portland, North Dakota) and back, he mused on about how pleasant the weather was there but he eventually disclosed how he had begun to resent how pleasant it was. With “Groundhog Day-like” weather patterns, how do you learn to appreciate a warm summer day? Yes, we’re amidst dangerously cold subzero temperatures, but keep this sentiment in mind while you’re lakeside six months from now. In the meantime, be sure to wear gloves and heavy socks so you can continue to count your blessings.

Speaking of counting your blessings be sure to remember your winter survival kit, which is not to be confused with my 3 season social survival kit. I mean, doesn’t every girl keep a cocktail dress and cowboy boots in her trunk for special occasions? Coveralls and insulated work boots are equally impressive and statement worthy. Be sure to dress in layers and accessorize with jumper cables and a scoop shovel.

My personal favorite part of layering up for the cold is not having to worry about shaving my legs during the winter months; why destroy your God-given long johns? Seasonal beards and seasonal leg hair exist for a reason, now is the time to make the most of it.

It’s important to dress in layers, every good midwesterner knows this. We’re like a bunch of onion people around here. We’re wrapped up in layers with tears in our eyes from either the biting cold or due to the fact that our cars won’t start and we have someplace to be. If your car happens to start and you’re feeling adventurous enough to grab a snack with your pals, there’s comfort knowing you can leave your leftovers in your car until spring and they’ll be fine. Just know where they’re stashed or you’ll be facing unspeakable odors after the thaw.

I remember a gentleman from Boston who used to work security for one of the bars downtown a number of years ago. He was amazed at the amount of traffic downtown after a winter weather advisory. He commented, “It’s like f’n bumpah cahs out there.” You can only stay cooped up for so long before cabin fever starts to set in and it’s no fun to sit at home and complain about the weather to yourself.

One of my other favorite activities is explaining the concept of ice fishing to outsiders. How, in our neck of the prairie, during the winter months, our fishermen and women trade in their sunburns for frostbite. Some have the luxury and rustic comforts of a fish house while others sit out on the ice on overturned buckets in frigid temperatures all for the sake of trading whoppers while waiting to catch “the big one.”

I had the privilege of bartending in the paradise city after the Frettim Lake ice fishing derby last winter and heard tell of a mean old pike that continually managed to outfox a number of fishermen. I’m pretty sure he got bigger with each round of drinks and with each round the men looked more and more determined to catch the monstrous pike. As far as I know, he’s still out there eluding fisherpeople.

Years ago securing ice was an arduous process. The aforementioned lake provided Hanson’s Bar with ice that was eventually stored throughout the year ensuring those parched patrons that they could still have access to a refreshing beverage during the hottest of days. Thankfully, we have no reason to fear warm beer this time of year inNorth Dakota, though frozen bevvies are a whole different animal. The trick is to keep those beverages “ice cold” yet above freezing. As in life, attaining true happiness is a delicate balance, during these trying frigid times we must remember, who needs a cooler when the world is your icebox?

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