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Comedian Ronnie White pokes fun at people who wander out during hurricanes, “It ain’t THAT the wind is blowin’, it’s WHAT the wind is blowin’.” I thought about that when my wife decided to drive south to get supplies for her daycare, without telling me, and hit a whiteout on the way back.


When I talked to her LATER, she used “emotive thinking”–the numbers were low at Mama Bear’s and it’s been two weeks since she last shopped. Not exactly what she was saying when her daughter drove into a whiteout in the Bad Lands a couple of days earlier and had to spend the night with neighbors, but …

In fact, my son-in-law ratted Bear out when he saw her as he was traveling home. “Hey, Dad, I just got home from work, it took me twice as long because of the wind.” Quid pro quo.

Guys, the wind up here isn’t something to mess with. One has to experience it once to really get it I guess. The first time I saw it in 2013, I was driving home from court and, just north of the county line, by those big metal grain bins, everything disappeared. Well, that’s pretty neat but, I used my Tom-Tom GPS’ image to visualize the road, slowed down to 25 mph and let my butt cheeks eat the seat cushion.

What I tell my southern friends is that it’s the closest thing to how the inside of your freezer looks when the compressor kicks on. It’s surreal to watch white powder blowing across your field of vision and, then, everything just disappears for few seconds. Not really something you want to experience if you can avoid it.

And, as I watched a road scraper fueling up at Hardware Hanks on Saturday, I ruminated on the fact that “snow” in North Dakota means something radically different than it does in Missouri. Up here, for the last four years, the mentality was, “What’s so bad about a North Dakota winter?”

Christmas Eve through the penning of this article demonstrates that you REALLY need to keep your head screwed on tight when winter gets serious up here! When it’s 35 below zero and the snot freezes in your nose, while you get pelted with snow BB’s, there really isn’t any reason to be outside unless you have to.

Which brings me back to MY family. As my son-in-law Stephen spent several hours using the family tractor out at the Kershisnik Ranch to push snow out of the way so that we could go home on Tuesday, my daughter took a page from my wife’s handbook, “Oh, that’s not work … the cab is heated and he LOVES this stuff.” Huh?

We got home to Killdeer, after I cleaned off the Bearmobile, my wife quipped, “WOW. You’re going to have to spend a lot of time digging your Explorer out of that snow drift.” Six-foot drifts and the car was buried. Now, two examples of male logic as I wait for my sore back and legs to stop throbbing.

First, I sure was glad when Hank’s Hardware had that big snowblower on sale. And, my grandson Jack’s observation when the idea of going outside to “help plow snow” came up. Oh, he gave lip service but, confided after his dad went outside, “I’m going to play with Grandpa.”

Oh, and just when you thought you couldn’t buy toy guns anymore, you need to check out Jack “Fury” now has his own SWAT gear complete with helmet and, lots of noisy weapons! Viva North Dakota Christmas!

Pat Merriman is the Dunn County State Attorney. He is a photographer and also officiates high school and college athletics events in the area.

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