Opinion: Snow is fine, cold is not

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Commentary by Ward Degler

I enjoy a light snowfall. Just enough to coat the trees but not enough to create a driving hazard. Cold temperatures, not so much.

On several occasions through the years, it has snowed enough to turn the landscape into a fantastic Christmas card while the temperature stayed above freezing. That was ideal.

Before moving to the more temperate environs of Indiana, I lived in hostile places like Minnesota and South Dakota. There, it can get cold enough to prompt survival exercises.

In the winter of 1966, I lived in Sioux Falls, S.D., working for the Associated Press. We had a record snowfall followed by inhumane temperatures.

The AP bureau chief resided in Chicago and got to work on a snowmobile. He said it was eerie being the only human on the Chicago loop that morning.

In South Dakota, the mercury plunged to 48-below. I coaxed my car to life, only to stall halfway to work. I had to walk the last eight blocks. Even though I wore a heavy coat, it wasn’t heavy enough. I literally thought I would freeze to death before I got to the office.

When I returned home that evening, I discovered the water pipes had frozen. I spent much of the evening applying a torch to the pipes while trying diligently not to set the house on fire.

Memory is selective, however, and after a couple of years, I wasn’t sure I recalled everything accurately. Maybe I had imagined it.

On the other hand, why would anybody make up something like that?

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