It gets very cold up here. There are many stories about the snow and cold.
One of the best I’ve heard was when we lived on Pickerel Lake. I had a trailer house on a piece of land I owned up by the lake. My son and his family lived in that trailer house. The skirt was not very good, and the pipes had all frozen. This one night it was very cold, pushing 60 below – real temperature, not wind chill. Oh, yes, it gets that cold up here. If you haven’t seen it that cold, stand by, you will.
They had to bring all their water in and throw out the old dish water. Julie opened the door and threw out the water. They had a light outside the door. Much to her surprise, there was a weasel standing right where she threw the water. The water went right on top of the weasel.
A weasel is called an ermine in the wintertime and is pure white, easy to see. The doused animal took about three steps and froze solid.
The next morning it was still there, still standing just like it was about to take off and run, but frozen solid. This story I can verify.
My son had a goose. One winter night, the goose went missing. They found it with its feet frozen to a pond. They cut it out of the ice and took it into the house. When the ice, melted the goose was fine. It had no ill effects to its feet.
Another very cold night I was deriving from Bemidji to Park Rapids. I owned a Subaru with an air-cooled engine. I pulled out of Bemidji when it was 56 below zero. I was followed by my son, who drove a car with a water-cooled engine. My car just stopped running – too cold. It just wouldn’t run. The next day I went back and got it. It had “warmed up” to just 35 below. That car started right up and ran fine.
There is a story told about a large flock of ducks that landed in a pond a little further up north. They all settled down for a long, cold night. The next day, when they tried to take off, their feet were frozen in the pond. The whole pond lifted off with them and was never seen again.
I could not verify that story.
A storyteller, John Zentz, 87, will share a blend of fact and fiction in his bimonthly column. Some tales he’s lived through, some he’s been told. Zentz and his family are longtime Hubbard County residents. He has a picture of his grandmother and grandfather, seven times removed, sitting on a porch in Park Rapids.