Qwindin, a fellow Minnesotan, asked for funny stories about the cold.
Winter Friday nights during the late sixties in Moorhead (everybody likes Moorhead) Minnesota consisted of going to “Youth Center” the weekly dance at the VFW. You could see the likes of the Unbelievable Uglies and try to grab a feel while slow dancing with your girl.
I had just gotten my driver’s license so five of my friends and I piled into the ’63 Bel Air wagon and headed for the dance. It was one of those March nights when winter is making it’s last stand before giving in to Spring. Below zero with a life threatening wind chill. We left our coats in the car and hauled ass inside and started working up a sweat on the dance floor. Later in the evening I ran into Cindy. Cindy and I had an off and on thing going, but that’s another story, one that ends with her slapping me in the face at our twenty year reunion the first time she saw me since graduation. Maybe I was looking at her teenage daughter. I told her I had gotten my license and she asked me for a ride home. Perfect timing, I thought, I could take her home and make it back in time to pick up the guys and bring them home. I thoght that I even had time for a detour to one of the time honored parking spots down by the Red River.
We’d only just begun to get the windows steamed up when I remembered I had to get back to Youth Center before it closed. But when I started to pull out I realized I was hopelessly stuck in the snow. Our desperate efforts to get unstuck, using all the tricks a North County kid learns to accomplish that only yielded deeper ruts in the icy snow packed dirt road. Fortunately there were two other couples double dating about fifty yards away and they were stuck too. So we combined our efforts with rocking and pushing and spinning of wheels got the cars out. I rushed Cindy home to the Motel her mother ran on the edge of town and then beat it back to the VFW. Deserted. Completely. A deserted parking lot at night with whisps of snow blowing across it’s icy surface illuminated by street lights may be the coldest image known to man. There was no sign of my buddies. I knew I was in deep shit.
I got home to face the all too familiar figure of my angry father, veins popping in his temples wondering out loud if I was a complete idiot. I really didn’t mind my father’s fits of temper, I was just frightened that he would get so angry he’d have a heart attack and drop dead. It terrified me. It turns out that my pals had been ejected from Youth Center at closing, sweating and coatless into the Siberian night. They made it to a gas station several blocks away and called their parents. There parents had already called my parents to express their displeasure. I spent my Saturday driving around returning the coats and apologizing to the parents. They were not very forgiving. I was treated to a lecture at each stop. They all seemed to have concluded that I was a hopelessly stupid and irresponsible kid. Adults never were very fond of me when I was young.