Saturday afternoon….the last day of January, 2009: a real January Thaw day here in St Cloud….oh, how it brings back memories of other January Thaws. I recall one in about 1953 when my friend Avis and I decided that such a beautiful warm winter day should be observed by having a picnic out in the country somewhere close to the town we lived in. It was easy to pack up a simple lunch of sandwiches, cookies, fruit…. and even a thermos of some drink (I cannot recall but it was probably Kool-Aid…the "drink" of our era!) We walked east on what we all knew as "Old Number 2" (formerly the only highway into our small town before Highway 10 was built …..and PAVED…with concrete!!! Our mile- long hike led to a right turn onto a dirt road that led to a sturdy wooden bridge that went over the Buffalo River (our January Thaw day did not include an un-frozen river)…but it was sunny and warm so we found a dry spot to sit on the bridge and ate our picnic lunch, then walked back to town, fully satisfied that we had had a satisfying Saturday.
I have the same satisfied feeling today….it is way over 30 degrees warm down here in Centra Minnesota this morning. My granddaughter and I went to a nearby Coborn’s supermarket to purchase some brunch items after we decided to have a nice big brunch at home instead of the suggested "eating out" this morning. Coming out of Coborns, we met a young man in shirtsleeve; I remarked that it was a sure sign of a true January Thaw! If it had been a day in October with 30 degrees in the morning that young man would have been shivering and wearing his winter jacket but the perspective surely changes when you have had minus -30 mornings in January and you suddenly wake up to a brilliant sunny day with a strong SW wind bringing +35 or more degrees in late January! Hey…we are having a heat wave….hallelujah!!
Our brunch which we made ourselves was super—-bacon done just right, scrambled eggs, a favorite brand of orange juice, coffee for Gramma, and a careful selection of rolls, long johns, and twists plus one scone (for Gramma) made by the two of us at the bakery counter in Coborns, and we were headed home to cook our meal. We had a grand time eating and talking. Then Grandson "A." and I went outside to attack some hard packed snow on a side walk and that led to inspecting a horribly HUGE icicle formed by the heating system’s vent. The trouble with this thick , huge icicle was that it had formed in a window well. I have been looking at it all week everytime I have been out with the Nervous- Nellie Dachsund ""pupper" and I have wondered if the melting of this tower of ice could lead to flooding from the window well and into the Grandson’s bedroom. Only Grammas could worry about such an occurence— but I convinced "A" that we should try to get this monster icicle, which was like a scale model of "Devils’ Tower" in Wyoming and big enough to be a small iceberg if it were water-borne, out of the window well. It was such a fine warm day, both of us decided to tackle the job. WE GOT IT DONE!!! "A" got into it enthusiastically, as only a 12- year old boy with boundless energy can, and went inside and found a hammer that looked strong enough to take on the icicle- removal project. He pounded the bejabbers out of the top of the ice-tower and we got it off and lifted out of the well. It was like lifting a very heavy log of oak—-ice can weigh the "proverbial ton" as well as other heavy things. Our success led us to even more enthusiastic ice removal, and I went insided to get an ice-cream bucket-ful of hot water. This worked wonders and it was not long before we had the seond third of the ice monster loose and out of the well. More hot water……More muscular pounding by "A"….even more hot water and finally the thick huge stump of the icicle "gave" way to to the pounding of the hammer. We threw the remainder of the ice out of the window well and went inside, triumphant! Both of us were pretty well soaked…I had stumbled over a chunk of ice and sat down, hard, in the wet slushy southside- of- the- house snow and "A" had on his shoes and a very wet pair of not- so- white sox by now. We had to come inside and change and find a good spot to dry our shoes. (I did change into boots at one point in the icicle removal process but "A’ got his school shoes really wet and they are now drying on a thick towel in a warm spot on a stairway that gets some sunshine in the afternoon.
Both "Grands’ have gone off to be with friends this afternoon and I am happy they could do that. Granddaughter "K" has a good friend in a nearby house, and "A" has gone to play with his friend, Sam, at his house a bit farther away but I know they are both enjoying themselves and that makes their Gramma happy.
Tomorrow the Parents return from a wonderful cruise in the Caribbean……Fort Lauderdale to Cozumel with stops in between— and wonderful +80- +90 degree clear, sunny- sky days every day…the best trip yet, they reported when they got back to southern Florida this morning. I will go home and try to adjust to my daily routines after having a great week with two great kids in Sunny St. Cloud (my trip "south")!!!!