by Frances Edstrom
Why is it that everything comes last to Winona? Even global warming!
But I shouldn't complain. We got our white Christmas and the furnace didn't go out in the middle of the night.
When John and I were newlyweds, we rented a farmhouse near Lewiston from Gerald and Donna Brown. Until then we hadn't lived anywhere on our own where we had actual responsibilities, so were surprised one night to wake up to a frigid house. We looked at the thermostat. Yikes! John went back to bed. I cried until he acquiesced and drove me into Winona to his parents' house, where the furnace was working.
The next morning, John called Gerald to report the furnace problem. Gerald was incredulous.
"Didn't you check how much oil was in the tank?" he asked.
"Um"" we said.
You'd think that would have taught us a lesson. Heavens, no!
A couple of years later, in a different house, the furnace went out again. We called the repairman. It cost us a pretty penny to find out that we hadn't changed the filter, which was jam packed with dirt and dust, thereby strangling the poor furnace.
Live and learn, right?
So now we take care of the furnace.
For a couple of years after that, we had winters so mild that one year John and I played tennis outdoors in February. But the winter of 1981-82 completely bamboozled us. The thermometer read 100 below zero. The kids wouldn't get out of bed. Except the baby. It didn't bother him, but it bothered me.
I put the baby in anything woolen I could find, and he was still chilly to the touch. So I put him in his snowsuit"in the house.
The house was freezing, literally. We kept the faucets dripping so the pipes wouldn't freeze. I complained so long and loud that John finally called R.D. Cone's, where he was able to roust out Cal Friesen, on a Sunday, not usual practice back then. Cal sold him a kerosene space heater, which he brought home, and around which we huddled for a couple of days until the weather abated.
There, I feel much better about this cold snap.