Summit Up 2-3-11: Where it was so cold …
Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that wants to channel the spirit of Sir Ernest Shackleton on this very cold week. For every non-starting vehicle, remember the tiny boats Sir Ernest and his crew had to drag across the jumbled ice of the Weddell Sea. For every frozen toe, recall the men of Shackleton’s expedition tooling around in Antarctica 100 years ago with nary a scrap of Gore-Tex, Thinsulate or even fleece. And for every frosty beard, recall how the men of the Endurance would use their own beards – once they’d frozen solid and fallen off – as pucks in crude games of hockey on the ice.
OK, we made that last one up, but we do always think of those old polar explorers when it gets really cold out. Those guys were hard core! If you don’t know the story of Shackleton, pick up one of the many books about him at our library – or watch the PBS miniseries with Kenneth Branaugh. Amazing stuff – and coming up on the 100th anniversary in 2015 …
But anyway you slice it, it was a bit nippy Wednesday morning when we got up. Our thermometer read -24, but our next-door neighbor was reporting -30 here in Frisco, and someone else sent us a photo of their thermometer reading -38! Not to be outdone, our photo dude Mark Fox wrote: “-40 deep in the woods at the Fox Cabin. Reminds me of the winter of ’76 when I was running a trapline for beaver up in the Sawtooths with Hatchet Jack!”
We’re not sure why, in these modern times, our thermometers wouldn’t agree, but there you have it. And by the way: Hatchet Jack still owes us money!
Of course, old timers will tell you this is nothing compared to the old days. You know you’re about to hear one of these stories when they say something like: “Well, back in (insert date of whatever year they moved to the county), we had such a cold snap that …”
>The mules in the front yard froze solid, so we used ’em as planters in the spring.
>Our nose hairs would freeze so hard they’d tinkle out on the floor, and the women-folk’d gather it up and weave ’em into nose-bags for the mules. ‘Course, then all the mules froze so …
>All the pine beetles came outta the trees, knocked on our doors and begged for forgiveness.
>Biff America’s accent got so impenetrable we had to communicate with him via sign language.
>(insert your own ridiculous memory here)
Wednesday, even the school kids had a two-hour late start due to the cold. Heck, back when we were in Summit High, they’d make us come in early to stoke the coal furnace and rub down the mules.
Kids today. And what’s with all the mule references?
But we heard ol’ Punxsutawney Phil the groundhog saw his shadow yesterday, so that means winter’s either almost over or it’ll never be over or the mules’ll keel over and crush all the groundhogs – we can’t remember which.
OK, we have what looks like a Scum Alert! Scum Alert! from someone named Carolyn who wrote a very long note about some doofus from Wisconsin (Go Packers!) who was frustrated by the lack of parking last weekend during the snow sculpture event. Apparently the old feller threw his car into reverse and, without looking, started backing up and nearly ran over a bunch of people, including a young child. Carolyn takes up the tale:
“I screamed and pushed the child out of the way, the man continued to reverse when I screamed again STOP! Had he gone one more inch he would have crushed the child under his tire and me into a snow bank! He then got out of his car confused and to why people were screaming .
“If you are that impaired, senile, or just plain confused YOU SHOULD NOT BE DRIVING !! I don’t care what state you are from! Rules are rules, baricades are put up for a reason.
“As I came home and flipped through my Summit Daily (sound of cheering; italics ours) to find the e-mail address: Oh look, lo and behold the two articles on the opinion page (Friday Jan 21) are about Breck parking and tourists complaining about not knowing where to park and getting a ticket for a hundred bucks! What would the cost have been if that stupid old man driving on a sidewalk going around barricades would have killed a child! Sorry but the tourists come to our community with some sense of entitlement. Just because you are here on vacation does NOT give you permission to drive and park wherever you please. Read the signs, obey the laws estabished for crowd control and for the people who work in this town to make it into a place you like to visit. And for GOD SAKES! LOOK IN THE MIRROR BEFORE YOU PUT YOUR CAR IN REVERSE!”
Sound advice indeed. It’s good to turn your head and look, too, when backing up. But it points to a larger issue: Why do the folks at the tunnel have to vacuum everyone’s brain out of their head before they enter Summit County? We should do something about that …
Stay warm out there, folks. We out.
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