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Home for the summer: Jan’s back

From Jan Kent

Ah, we’re back. Back in our little log cabin in Minnesota. Home for the summer. And we’re very happy to be here.

But all through the long months of December, January, February and March, we had this peculiar feeling that we were, actually, home for the winter. We read and heard about the huge amounts of snow and the bitterly cold temperatures up here on the North Shore. And when we walked outside our door in Illinois, we seemed to be experiencing the same weather.

Okay, okay, yours was worse, but we’ve had less experience! When we did our daily check of the harbor cam (alas, no longer up and running) in Grand Marais, it felt as if we were getting a peek at the North Pole. Except, I’m pretty sure, the North Pole had a better time of it this winter than did either Minnesota or the Chicago area.

The meteorologists were more than happy. They pulled out all the old records as to below freezing days and wind chill, below zero days and inches of snow, and on and on. This winter will be one for the books.

Meanwhile, snow piled up in the driveway and we shoveled it off. The icy winds blew and blew, and we woke up the next morning to find that the same snow had blown back onto our driveway, so we shoveled it off a second time. After a week or so of this, we decided we needed to replace the snow blower that had stopped working a whole bunch of mild winters ago. After that, we were able to clear off the driveway just in time for the village snow plow to build a mountain range across the end of it. Our little electric snow blower was too puny to handle that, so we broke out the shovels again.

And just to take away any winter fun we might think about having, the snow was too dry to pack, so we couldn’t make our annual snowman. Once each winter we like to create a snow creature, take photos of ourselves with it (snowman selfies?) and text them to the grandkids –just so they know we’re still out here in the world. This year, however, snowmen were nowhere to be seen. Our local paper ran a good cartoon of a snowman standing on the side of the road with his twig-thumb out, hitching a ride. He was holding a sign that read “Jamaica” but that was about it.

We couldn’t make snowballs with our useless snow either, although we’re pretty much past the snowball fight stage.

Then finally, finally, most of the snow melted. Our so-called lawns reappeared, our driveways were clear, the dirty snow mountains in parking lots got smaller and life was easier because there were more parking places.

Daylight savings time arrived so we were able to see our pitiful landscaping and dirty snow drifts as late as 7:30 p.m. The vernal equinox occurred. Spring had arrived.

A few days later, the temperature got up to 50 degrees. We rejoiced because winter was over. We were wrong. More cold, more wind, more snow. People were getting desperate.

One day I drove past a house where a mom was shoveling snow at one end of the driveway while the kids were trying to chalk down a hopscotch game at the other end.

But it finally happened – the temperatures rose, the snow melted, the tulips and crocuses started to grow – and it was spring. And when I looked online at photos and accounts of snow accumulations still on the North Shore… I was happy not to be Home for the winter.