A love letter from Minnesota

Published 8:57 am Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Column: Tales from Exit 22

We know you’re in Texas, Arizona or Florida — we can never remember which. We know you don’t get much winter where you are, but we imagine you detest what you get.

We miss you wherever you are. We wish you were here because your bodies give off heat.

Email newsletter signup

We’re happy you got the gumption to go but you missed the church potluck — three different kinds of Jell-O!

Scooter phoned. He’s wintering in Mission. Scooter told his wife, “Life takes odd twists. Did you ever in your wildest dreams think we’d be wintering in Texas?”

His wife told him that Scooter wasn’t in her wildest dreams.

It has been a good day. On a day shaped like snow, we ate tater-tot hotdish without having anyone die. It’s great having funeral potatoes without the funeral.

At this time of year, we tend to concentrate on the past and future because the heavy snow makes it impossible to see the present. I know you’ve seen it all before, but we want to update you with the goings-on here at home since you’ve been gone.

Winter is having its way with Minnesota, as it must. The cold has been constant and the snow steady. It’s cold because last summer, too many people prayed for lower temperatures. Reports confirm that Min never gets as hot as Max. We’re wearing so much clothing that we’re hot when it’s cold. It snows when we’re not looking. Snow is everywhere. That’s why it’s called a blanket. It’s not a comforter.

Minnesota is suited up in snow and ice. The ice makes us wish we were built closer to the ground. We’ve made so many snow angels that we could make them lying down. Blizzards on steroids have been the norm. The wind is a bear in the backyard. We shovel as part of the statewide winter exercise program. It’s difficult to look rakish while wearing a snowmobile suit. Eva Destruction tells everyone how much she loves winter, but we all know that what she loves is being miserable. Denton Fender has been in the ditch so many times this winter, it’s made his airbag so sensitive that it deploys whenever Denton sneezes. Weasel lost a contact while shoveling snow. He’s keeping one eye closed until spring when he hopes to find the lens.

The flu epidemic hit so hard that Doc Splint Eastwood said the hospital is standing rheum only. The deer are so hungry they mugged Waxy Johnson, the pizza deliveryman. Waxy claims that deer are poor tippers. Noah Vale lost his wife. Sad news. She’s still alive. He couldn’t find her in the supermarket. That place gets busy when bad weather is predicted, and bad weather is always predicted. The weather service doesn’t want us stunned by unforeseen nasty weather. A winter cruel enough to be twins torments kids waiting for school buses at the ends of driveways. It’s painful to watch those forlorn victims of circumstance.

Our neighbor Crandall, he has more relatives than a dying billionaire and drinks so much coffee that the Inconvenience Store gave him his own restroom key. His neighbor Still Bill continues to be good at not overdoing it. Both guys eat foods that encourage heartburn just for the warmth. Bertha DeBlues and her husband do nothing but fight. She’s been so upset she’s lost 20 pounds. She’ll leave him the minute she loses another 15 pounds.

The state remains deeper in debt than a squid with a credit card and taxes are higher than a wind turbine. There is good news. The county passed an ordinance that requires snowmen noses to be locally grown. Finally, someone is doing something to help the carrot farmers.

Minnesota is a variety show of seasons. Before we know it, it will be July. It’ll be 81 degrees, we will be sweating buckets, and a caller from Arizona will ask, “Is that above zero?”

We’re waist-deep in work and winter’s wickedness, but we’ve no reason to get frown cramps. We’re still here because we’re baked into the cake. We braced ourselves to trudge through winter. We complain little for fear of angering meteorologists. We await the local snow removal plan — June.

That’s it from here. We’re living in and loving Minnesota until we become successful enough to winter in a warmer locale like Iowa. We love you, forgive you for your absence, and will welcome you back in the spring.

Stay Minnesotan. We’ll keep our thoughts plowed for you.

May happiness be your shadow.



Hartland resident Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday and Sunday.