During the long siege of brutally cold temperatures, heavy snow, church cancellations, school and business closings and general hunkering down in mid-January and early February, there was general grumbling about "cabin fever." Cabin Fever, as defined, is the general irritability, listlessness and boredom resulting from long confinement or isolation indoors during the winter. The good news is that cabin fever is not fatal. I am of the opinion that cabin fever is a relatively recent concept and is symptomatic of a certain softness that is embarrassing to admit.
Just a few days ago when we were in the pit of our January cold wave, it was 38 below zero overnight with enough wind to send a message to your bare nose that it would never forget. Nearby, the windchill was 66 below. Weather like that freezes your mind so that you can't think about anything else. Everybody I talked to asked me the same question: "Is it cold enough for ya?" Being in a grumpy mood (because of the 38 below, with wind) I couldn't give a straight answer.
When George W. Bush (President 43) was running for president, it was common to comment on all the advantages he had experienced growing up and as a young man. He grew up in a prominent, well-to-do family. His grandfather had been a congressman from Connecticut, his father a war hero, successful oil man in Texas, experienced politician (President 41), his mother outspoken and totally supportive; he was the eldest child of a close-knit family.
(Note to readers: On Jan. 18, a farewell-recognition reception and program was held at the Detroit Lakes Public Library, a Carnegie Library, for retiring Library Directo, Mary Haney. She's scheduled to retire on Jan. 31, after 20 years of dedicated service to the library.
There are over 100 fish houses on the lake and as a man drives by and looks out there, he wonders what is going on inside those private huts. Last year he was invited to join some ice fishermen and he had a good time. He caught the only fish of the four fishermen, a small walleye, and he was never invited back.
In the first week or two of January, folks talk about New Year's Resolutions. I read the resolutions of six young to middle-age women on the street stopped by a reporter who asked, "What is your New Year's resolution?" Their answers: Leah — "Organization, as always;" Lisa — "Lose 50 pounds;" Amy — "Keep my fish alive;" Bryan — "Keep my room clean;" Hannah — "Exercise my right to eat more tacos;" Tyreen — "Try to become a DJ." Another, a mature man, answered "Live a more focused life."
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. This is a tale of two clocks. The first clock was a grandfather's clock and the story comes to us from a song I learned as a boy: "My Grandfather's Clock." It's the story of a grandfather's clock that was bought on the same day that a baby boy was born. The clock was a favorite of the little boy and it ran for 90 years, keeping perfect time while the boy grew up and eventually became a grandfather. Then the clock stopped running the day the grandfather died.
Another year almost gone. The ink just dried on my 2017-2018 review and predictions and here we are again — another year older and deeper in the swamp. The crystal ball is clearer this year than it ever was before, so pay careful attention. First, the review and comment on some of the events of 2018.
"Merry Christmas!" I shouted to a woman on the street But she didn't hear me Her misty eyes stared halfway round the globe Where her son was lost in Afghanistan And never found his way home. "Merry Christmas!" I cried to an old gent in the alley But he didn't hear me He was dragging a cardboard box to another address Moving his house to a friendlier neighborhood Wondering where he belonged. "Merry Christmas!" I heralded to the working man But he didn't hear me His hope was still at the locked gate of a factory
I write this not just for my community, Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, but for all the towns with newspapers that carry this column. The handwriting is on the wall.