St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cold Weather

My own birthday is in December too. I am much tougher because of it! My story: It was December 17th. In a snowstorm, after milking the cows in the evening, Dad started the old 31 Chev and headed down Hwy 87 to St. Croix to J. A. Riegel's hospital in the Baker Mansion to pick up Mom and me, her new baby, so she would be home for her birthday on the 18th. Just south of La Vern Larson's farm, the fuse for the headlamps burned out leaving him to negotiate MacIntosh curve in the dark snowy night on the slippery hill. Standing on the running board to see, door open, throttle slightly pulled back and grabbing the steering wheel he figured to get to Eureka and get some new fuses there. But he slipped into the steep ditch, car tipping gently but only partially on its side against the bank, spilling the baby clothes and diapers into the snow. A walk to the neighbors, phone call to Harold Jensen at the garage in Cushing got the wrecker out with fuses and Dad back on his way and soon he arrived at the hospital. He shook out some of the snow from my diapers and clothes, but plenty remained as I was diapered, dressed and brought home, adjusting to the cold cold world with nary a whimper! The last two weeks I have been huddled over my computer working on Cushing History book trying to keep warm at the cabin when it is 20 below outside. My brother Everett says "Tighten it up! Take a candle and look for air leaks by watching the flame bend to the side." Well, the candle blew out anywhere in the cabin, but I have since tightened it up enough so my blowtorch stays lit unless I am near the doors or windows. Since Mom (who will be 86 in a week) is probably reading this and getting ready to mount a rescue, I have to admit that with our good wood stove and plenty of wood that Margo cut and split, the cabin is pretty comfortable. Margo left for Pine Island before the cold spell. She seems to think that with the water system turned off, trips to the outhouse at 20 below are an inconvenience. I say it just increases efficiency, especially for someone who started life with snow in their diapers. I have to join her soon, as she is having trouble with the WD Allis tractor and snowbucket down there. She forgets which wires to cross off for the ignition, thinks it is a bother to air up the tires each time, has a hard time cranking to start it and doesn't like the taste of gas when you need to blow to clear the line every 10 minutes. Oh well, she probably started life with warm diapers.