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Summertime, and the liviní is HOT (06/08/2011)
By Frances Edstrom

I should have been a meteorologist. I could have told you a week ago that it would be horribly hot on Monday and Tuesday, hot and muggy on Wednesday, and on Thursday, the temperature would plummet. You see, we have no air conditioning in our new(ish) house, and the workmen are coming Thursday to put some in for us. So, it will probably be coolish for a while now, just to make me look like an unreasonable wife to demand air conditioning.

I went home Monday after work and tried sitting down in the basement level to read. It is marvelously cool down there on hot days, and it felt pretty good. But the dog WMNBWA couldnít restrain himself from jumping up on to the pool table and grabbing the cue chalk and gobbling it up, so we moved upstairs to the porch and turned on the ceiling fan. By bed time, it was cool enough in the house to sleep. We have a huge attic fan that when it is turned on sounds like a Chinook helicopter taking off, but which pulls cooler air into the house and hot air out. Thereís a bedside fan, too, of course. That fan, at about seven thirty a.m., turned off suddenly, we heard a big bang, and then the fan went on again. One of the mysteries of hot weather in Minnesota.

I donít ever remember my kids being sent home from school because of heat in June. Other people at the office remember less than a handful of ďheat daysĒ when school was canceled or called off. But I guess when you have a state like Minnesota that has a nine-month winter full of below-zero days and lots of snow, your global warming has only three months to catch up, and thatís why we have had these 100 degree days in June.

I like hot weather, but thatís when Iím comparing it to cold weather. If it gets to be 100 degrees when it could just as well be 80, Iíll admit I like it cooler. It wouldnít be so bad to have a scorcher if the river level would go down a little so weíd feel comfortable taking the family out on the river. As it is, itís hard to find a sandbar when the river is at nine or ten feet, and we can only hope it will soon go down to regular levels.

In the meantime, Iím glad I have an air conditioned office. I know many, many people work in whatever weather comes our way, and I applaud them for that and for not being crybabies about it. Iím just glad my career path led to air conditioning. Iíve seen photos of old downtown buildings like ours with awnings on the top floors, but I donít believe for a minute that an awning would cool down my south-facing office enough to be comfortable, especially if I had to wear a long dress with long sleeves and stockings under sensible leather shoes instead of my capri pants and sandals.

Enough complaining on my part. I should just be glad I donít have to shuffle along on icy sidewalks and wait for the snowplow to come. I should be happy itís summer! I am happy itís summer! Couldnít it just be summer under 100 degrees?

More on steamboat sign

I knew someone would remember some things about the steamboat sign at the intersection of Huff and Hwy. 61. I got an e-mail from Don Evanson, whose company, American Plumbing, did the installation of the standard that the sign is mounted on. ďThe original four poles and their bracing and guy wires were unsightly, and difficult to mow around,Ē he said. He said the present sign had come from Schwabís yard, where it had been renovated or built afresh, and Schwab set the sign on the standard. The standard itself had been donated by the Jim Dresser family after Jimís death. Jim had Dresser Construction, doing bridge work, whose yard was located in Goodview near American Plumbing. The pipe is excess bridge piling.

Don remembers that someone had prepared a plaque commemorating the contributions and it was to hang in the Visitorís Center. I donít know if the plaque is still there. Don remembers the event as being after the original Wilkie burned and probably around the time the replica was built at the foot of Main St. at the Levee.

Another reader wrote, Marlene Hemsey, whose husband was the director of the Tech College in the 1970s and 80s. She remembered the carpentry class working on one of the signs, and suggested that I contact Eugene Keiper, which I have not had a chance to do, as he ran the program there.

Isnít it strange that everything we do sticks in someoneís memory? Iím still digging for more, so send an e-mail or letter.



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