It’s wintertime and here we are living with temperatures hovering around -30C. With windchill the number goes up…I mean down. Windchill factors the impact of the wind into the whole deal and in winter it never means warmer. There have been some interesting comments about how Canadians are now informed about winter temperatures.
You know you are of a certain vintage when you say “You think this is cold? Why, when I was a kid…”. And you blather on about things way back when. Some of it could be “retrospective bias” but that’s never stopped some of us from talking about it.
As I sit here with my second cup of hot coffee on a morning when the windchill factor makes it feel like -35, I am running through my memory of just how cold it was and how you knew it was cold (these memories are of winters in Saskatchewan-on the Canadian prairies):
there was a buffalo blanket (really!) to snuggle underneath, a wood stove and a furnace stoked by coal in our small farm house. It was cool, cool, cool in the morning until Dad got up and got the place heated up once again.
Dad owned a weighty coat and hat made of buffalo hide. I wonder now just how much that coat weighed.
there was frost shield on the kitchen window in order to see when the school bus arrived. Otherwise the window was opaque-all frosted up-from the inside. I can’t even find a picture of a frost shield on the internet..am I THAT old?
clothes hung outside came back in stiff as a board
every winter someone stuck there tongue on some outdoor metal structure at school.
you had to let vehicles run for a long time before driving. The seats were covered in some unforgiving plastic and when you sat on them it was like sitting on a block of ice. Tires were “square” when you started to drive. Bump, bump, bump. Why aren’t they like that now when you start out on a winters day?
cardboard would be inserted between the vehicles grill and radiator so the car would become warm enough to operate decently. Otherwise your vehicle could freeze up when you are on the road. With the possibility of deadly consequences.
your nostrils would sort of freeze together if you inhaled too forcefully and tears…well they could freeze on your cheeks.
no polartec, no HotShot handwarmers, but lots of layers and wool and mittens upon mittens.
We survived and thrived. Without knowing about the windchill factor.
If you have known the very cold, what are your recollections?
Oh, and by the way I don’t plan to go out today because it’s too cold.
It is the same for almost everyone, I’d bet. When you have moved away from the place where you grew up (my sister jokes she has always lived in the same postal code) and you return home, it’s a wonderful experience. I blogged about a trip home to the province of Saskatchewan last year. Another trip this year was to attend the reunion of my College of Pharmacy class and then some driving around the province to see family and friends. All those loved ones. It was a big number, this reunion. We are, as far as we know, the only class from the College of Pharmacy in its 100 year history who has held a reunion every 5 years since graduation.
The campus of the University of Saskatchewan is a beautiful place and it doesn’t get any better than being there on a warm September afternoon.
The boat cruise made me think of a song by the Arrogant Worms “The Pirates of Saskatchewan”.
Harvest was in full swing when I was ‘home’. It’s a bumper crop this year, some say the crop of a lifetime. My 91-year-old Uncle Albert called it “two crops in one”. For my part I loved to see the combines on the land, the hauling machinery and the size of those machines. Much different from the 60’s and 70’s when I operated the machinery on our farm in Saskatchewan. Many of the pieces of machinery now cost the same as a very comfortable single family dwelling. How in the world do they make a living with such costs?
I loved that trip home to Saskatchewan, where the skies are bigger than anywhere else, the place where I was formed.
I have just returned from a vacation to Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan is home. At least it was for the first five decades of my life. It has been said that you must leave home and return in order to see it for the first time. It’s true for me. You see the beauty, the scenery, even the people with eyes that are somehow fresher as a result of time and distance.
Canadian folk singer Connie Kaldor grew up in Saskatchewan. She has lived in Quebec for some time and yet has written several songs about her native province. I became a fan of hers when I lived in Saskatchewan. I always wondered how she could see things so clearly and it is possibly because of that time and distance.
My view of Saskatchewan is a biased one. I was raised and educated there. It’s where I met my husband, where we raised our daughter and where we were able to find meaningful and challenging work. Much of our wonderful family still lives there. When I visit Saskatchewan I feel it fills up my soul and I bring that feeling back with me when I return to our current home in Ontario. Now we have two “homes” where we have family and close friends. Who could ask for anything more.
During your life have you been transplanted from your native home to another place on the planet? If so, what is it like for you to “go home”?