I started to write my thoughts about Christmas during the recent snowstorm. Stuck at home like so many others, there was time to reflect and relate. Friends at the base were sending me photos and texts from base housing showing the piles of snow drifts across streets making transportation on base difficult, at best.
In Minot, the main roads and snow routes were plowed pretty well, but the side streets made getting in and out of driveways in residential neighborhoods almost impossible. There were those with large 4-wheel drive and all-wheel drive vehicles that managed to navigate the wintry conditions, making runs to the grocery store for necessary provisions.
So back to those warm Christmas thoughts. By the time the Northern Sentry is being distributed we all would have endured what looks to be an entire week of below zero temperatures. Some of the high temps predicted for the days toward the end of the week were going to be well below zero; yes, even double digits below zero for the highs, and significantly more below zero for the lows. Uffda! (Norwegian for Uffda!)
So, North Dakota native, explain away these frigid temperatures and minus 50 degree wind chills. How is it that people are happy living up here? How can you talk about the warmth of the Christmas season?
Let me take you back about 60 years to the small town of Maddock, North Dakota. It was one of “those” winters. Snow, and more snow…and the talk on main street was about how cold it was. I was delivering my newspapers late one evening, and my Mom had never bundled me up so warm in my life. My Dad was a telephone guy and was out of town repairing downed lines (yes, telephone used to travel on lines…no cell phones). Our Chevrolet refused to start, so the only option I had for paper delivery was to walk the route and deliver some 50 papers.
It was so cold, that the snow cracked below your boots. I can remember walking by many homes with Christmas decorations adorning their trees and rooftops. Geographically, we lived on the west edge of town. And after almost an hour of walking, I found myself on the east edge of town, knowing it was going to be a long trek home. I walked up to a home, opened the screen door and was placing the paper between the doors, when all of a sudden, the inside door burst open, and an elderly gentleman said, “Well Mr. Wilson, you look like you could use a bit of a warmup.” I couldn’t have agreed more. Soon the caps and scarves were loosened, and I was enjoying hot chocolate and Christmas cookies. Mr. Johnson did offer to start his car and give me a ride home, but I explained there were several papers to deliver, and I was most assuredly going to make it home, now that I was warm and full of hot chocolate.
That truly was “The Warmth of Christmas.” Kind of sounds like a Hallmark movie, doesn’t it?
I arrived home just about the same time as my Dad, and I told him about Mr. & Mrs. Johnson inviting me in. His answer, “not surprised, they’re good folks.”
Let’s face it, these weeks of below zero temps are not fun. I can imagine that running Minot Air Force Base when it is 15 degrees below zero is a challenge. If there were a way to invite all of those on base downtown for hot chocolate and Christmas cookies, and a chance to warm up, I would make it happen.
Instead, I ask each and every one of you to share the warmth of the Christmas Season however you can.
Maybe a smile, a thank-you, a Merry Christmas, and a lot of appreciation for those who serve our country, no matter what the weather conditions.
Yes, folks, we will get through this cold snap, as we always have. It won’t necessarily be easy, and guess what, it won’t be the last one this winter.
Take care, stay safe, and be sure to share the warmth of Christmas.
Best Kept Secrets
This morning I decided that it was going to be a “soup type” of day. Jamaican Vybz Kitchen has a couple of real homemade soups that are certainly worth sampling. They have a Knoephla Soup with a Jamaican Jerk seasoning, and a chicken Knoephla soup for those who really want to have a protein added to their soup. You can try a free sample of both of them, just ask Heidi or Steve. For those who may not know, Knoephla soup is a very hardy traditional German soup.
What’s every parent’s favorite Christmas Carol? Silent Night.