Winter Coats? Can it Really Be?

Written by: Rodney Wilson

I have a very efficient spouse. This morning we awoke to “Winter Storm Watch” text messages. Having lived in North Dakota all of my life, I have often turned a deaf ear to weather forecasters who predict a winter storm when it’s still a couple of weeks away. However, all of my weather apps are quite insistent that there will be a winter storm, of some type, at the end of the week. So it may be that you are gazing out your window at snowbanks when the Northern Sentry arrives at your door this week.

Siblings Livvy and Owen Triplett experienced their first snow in North Dakota. As Minot AFB newbies (and southerners too), this family was excited to enjoy the weather. They are looking forward to figuring out the unique snowy season that Minot offers. Photo submitted by Nathalie Triplett

Well now, back to my spouse. Sue is quite the opposite of me when it comes to preparation for winter. At the first sign of impending winter weather, she changes over the closets. Getting put away are light summer coats. Replacing them are heavier fall/winter jackets, and those really heavy winter coats complete with heavy gloves, snow boots and winter caps. Ugh, I say, you have given in once again to fears of winter. “Whether it’s this time, or the next time they predict a winter storm” she replies “I want to be ready. We won’t be wearing windbreakers anymore, right?” Of course, I would like to respond with an “of course we will”, but there certainly is no guarantee. The little voice in my head says, “give it up Rod. Find your winter coat, and the gloves, and the hat, and the boots and the snow shovels, and get ready for winter.”

But it’s not all bad news. The first snowfall of the winter season is not normally an all-out blizzard. Those of you who are seeing “snow” for the first time might think it is kind of cool. Take time to review those winter driving tips, though. Even the slightest of snow fall can cause roads to get slick. If you have not heard about driving defensively, take a few minutes and read about proper distance between cars, and preparing you winter survival kit. Some of you may not have a snow shovel yet, so it may seem weird putting one in your trunk for those “just in case” situations. No, a cell phone does not suffice, folks. Remember that tow trucks and those friends that you choose to rely on for help are overwhelmed. You may spend a few hours in a ditch waiting for help.

Back to why the first snowfall may be good news. How about ice skating, and snow shoeing and cross country skiing? There may not necessarily be enough snow right away for all of these winter activities, but it won’t be long. A Minot AFB friend who just arrived in North Dakota asked my how long it would be until we can try ice fishing? “Well, that’s a whole different situation” I answer. A snowy day may not come with season changing cold. I say this knowing that some of you have never owned a winter coat, and zero is pretty darned cold. One thing at a time though. We are appreciative of enough snow for cross country skiing, and ice fishing can wait until mid-December of even January.

There it is! A second winter storm watch on my cell phone. I better heed their advice and get ready for snow and cold. But folks, I kid you not. It may not be time to sell out and give in to winter. We have had some pretty nice days in mid-November.
What happens to Halloween? Do we postpone Halloween, or re-schedule it? I really believe that most Halloween costumes are made large enough to accommodate a winter coat and snow pants. It won’t be the first ever Halloween with snow. I can remember a Halloween when we had a “no travel advised” warning. Besides, who in the world wants to have bags of candy hanging around their kitchen begging for consumption? Halloween will go on if for no other reason that transferring all those calories to little folks who can afford to down 3 or four candy bars at a time.

Max Hart, a 3 year-old base kid, has spent his entire life in North Dakota. So these Autumn snows are a breeze! Photo submitted by Kira Hart

Yep, it really can be the start of winter. Take a few minutes and find those winter coats. It will certainly be worth your time.

Best Kept Secret
Oak Park popcorn is the absolute best popcorn in town. Al Schon has been running movies for quite a while, and he knows how to make movie theater popcorn. There’s a new drive-in area that allows you to purchase your popcorn and take it home. With, or without, butter. Oak Park popcorn always gets a Grade A!

Today’s Chuckle
Is there actually anyone on the planet who, when they were a kid, wanted to grow up to be an investment banker?

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