There is a saying…”How can you tell a person is from Minnesota?” The answer…”If they talk to you about the weather for more than a minute.”
I guess due to our incredible ranges in the temperatures and weather, we Minnesotans can always find the topic of weather a safe subject to talk about casually or intensely with friends and strangers alike. It is just one of those things that is bred into our gene pool here in Minnesota. If it isn't a conversation about the heat and humidity, it is talking about the cold, snow and wind chills.
This morning I am sitting at my desk, watching the 20 squirrels taking over the bird feeders and feeding on the ground, while the birds sit perched and freezing in the trees nearby waiting their turn to get at the feeders. It has been cold the past few days with wind chills in the -30 to -40 range and air temps have been in the -15 to -20 range.
Weather like this causes a few changes in Minnesotans. They will begin putting on their choppers, those wool mittens that are inside the leather pair of mittens. Along with that, the Sorel boots may appear on some people's feet. It just depends how long the person is intending on being outside. If for over an hour, the Sorel’s get dug out in -20 below weather. And to cover the face if outdoors for more than a few minutes, many will use a scarf or neck warmer to pull up over their face to keep the nostrils from closing and freezing shut. It also wipes the snot running from the nose and forming ice crystals on a guy’s beard or mustache.
But before any outer gear is needed, there is a whole new level of dressing under the jackets and boots. It may be a pair of wool socks, or even sometimes 2 pairs, some flannel lined jeans for newcomers to Minnesota and some polar fleece for under the Buffalo Plaid shirt. While these are not absolute Minnesota clothing necessities, the ability to dress in layers is definitely needed for when you get in the truck and need to peel off a layer or two to keep from sweating. Many times you will see someone at the gas pumps in their layers and no jacket. But you know darn well the jacket is not too far away from the front seat, just in case you’re needing to pump more than 10-15 gallons in the truck.
While at the pumps, it is guaranteed that a conversation about the weather will develop as the pumps are running. Many times it will be an understanding nod to the other person as they are dumping a can of Heat into their vehicle’s gas line, but oftentimes it will start with the questions, “Is it cold enough for ya?”. And pardon the expression, but this question will usually break the ice. It seems to give the other person the permission to, well…complain a little about the cold. While Minnesotans aren’t big complainers of the cold they may say things like, “yeah, it’s getting old”, or “ yeah my outdoor faucet is frozen solid probably til April”.
Whatever the complaint, it is met with a nod of the head and an understanding that it is getting old having the -20 below temps and -30 to -40 below wind chills. But then usually someone will be the voice of reason and say, “Well it beats 90 degrees and 100% humidity”. And both will head on into the Kwik Trip and grab some hot coffee together and be on their way back out into the cold, knowing they are not alone in their Minnesota cold snap.’
Stay warm everyone!