I’ve lived in California for over three decades now, yet return home periodically. Maybe 15, 16 times total, and almost always between May and October. Twice as late as Thanksgiving (and met by snowstorms each time—even a blizzard). This year for the first time since I left, I went back in December.
Living in the bay area, what I hear most often from people is how cold Minnesota is. It’s what they get on the news—a few seconds of newsclip of blowing snow as some local exclaims how their particular burg hasn’t seen temperatures this low on this particular date since the blizzard of , oh, 1982 or some such.
I explain to my friends in Minnesota that most people out here think they’re living in igloos and chewing walrus blubber. Imagination picks up where the news clips end. While talking once with a good friend out here about urban trolley systems, a brght man with a law degree from an Ivy League school, I mentioned that the Twin Cities once had street cars before they were torn up after the war.
“Really?” He was surprised. “They can have street cars where it’s that cold?” If he didn’t know better, what do you expect from the average Joe?
So, when I heard the temperature was going to be about zero for our trip, I was a bit concerned for my California-born wife, and made sure she brought warm clothes, especially a heat, gloves, warm socks, etc.
Our schedules had us on separate flights, and my buddy Paul picked me at MSP airport, after a nuisance hassle on a Delta flight, whereby after boarding I had to check my carry-on baggage. Stepping outside of baggage claim I felt that dry, thin December cold again for the first time in three decades. And it wasn’t too bad. Paul and I caught up as we drove into St. Paul, looking for the holiday drink, Tom & Jerrys. Which weren’t easy to find. But that was okay. We parked downtown, and in walking from restaurant to club asking if they served T&J’s, I was comfortable with my jacket open, without gloves or hat. We weren’t outside that long. This wasn’t hour after hour of the Iditarod. It was a lovely, powdery snow-crunchy walk at night, and the 5 to 10 degree briskness was more novelty than discomfort.
It was great to be home. And that carried through almost the entire trip. There was the evening of the Holidazzle on Nicollet Mall — but that was my own fault.