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Column: The times that try our souls

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opinion Perham, 56573

Perham Minnesota 222 2nd Avenue SE 56573

I spent New Years Day in bitterly cold, snowy Fargo, drumming my fingers on my steering wheel hoping that Highway 10 would reopen and I could get home (no luck).

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A friend of mine spent New Years Day in Florida. On a jet ski, no less.

Countless others likely escaped - or wished they did - to celebrate the holiday season in warmer weather. Or if they didn't, they might be leaving soon, as the first week of January has greeted us with more bitter cold (no snow yet, thankfully).

There are times, I admit, when I look at the prices of airline tickets to places like Florida, Hawaii, or, say, anywhere that doesn't have snow on the ground. I entertain the possibility in my mind of getting out of Minnesota and into warmer, more tropical climates.

But, I don't. I want to - believe me, I want to, especially on the coldest of cold mornings. But, for me, when the mercury dips below zero, and the wind chill is in the negative double digits, that's when I remember what being a Minnesotan is all about.

This whole winter thing is unpleasant sometimes, sure, like the cold wind whipping against your face (I suppose this is where a winter beard would come in handy).

And it's inconvenient, thanks to the winter storms that put us under house arrest for New Years Eve festivities.

And it's expensive, paying our heating bills during the coldest of cold days.

But somewhere, hidden under all of that, is a pride of living where we live, and of experiencing (and surviving) the kind of winters that we do. It's a communal feeling, that we all pull through this together, that there's nothing anyone can do about it. That we can add the winters and the storms to the lore that gets passed down from generation to generation. On New Years Eve 2021, maybe you'll be telling your children or grandchildren where you were when the New Years Eve 2011 blizzard hit.

Me, I was stumbling over snowdrifts and piles of snow in downtown Fargo.

So though I may think about lying on the beach in Hawaii - and some day I may actually follow through and buy that plane ticket - nothing beats lying on your back after slipping on the ice in subzero weather.

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