Polar Vortex News Brings Memories Of Frigid Midwest Winters

Another Week in the Creek


Christopher Creek is a tropical paradise. Daytime highs are in the 50s. Yah, you say. So what? Well, this past Monday morning in Chicago at O’Hare airport it was 15 degrees below zero with wind chill temperature of minus 39. Marshalltown, Iowa reported minus 17 and minus 58 with the wind chill.

Somewhere it was reported this past weekend that if you are 40 years of age or younger, you have never heard of these kinds of temperatures.

Having grown up in the Loews Hills along the Missouri River, where Iowa, Nebraska and Dakota all meet, my experience with the cold is legendary. Try delivering the Sioux City Journal as a 12-year-old kid when the sub-zero temps and the wind blowing across the prairie would freeze solid livestock standing in the fields. We knew nothing of wind-chill factor; we just knew it was too cold for man or beast.

Mother would volunteer to haul me on the route ... when the Ford station wagon would start, which it wouldn’t when it was that cold. No, it was pull on the snow-pants over your jeans, buckle-up the rubber boots, then don the parka and the scarf and don’t forget the mittens. The snow was a foot or more deep and drifted. For reasons a young boy could never figure out, all the dogs in the neighborhood were out that time of the morning. They must have thought they had found easy prey as they bounded up from behind to try to knock me over.

Of course, it took twice as long to deliver the route when conditions were such. That was like having an hour-and-a-half long brain freeze.

Getting back to the house late, you barely had time to thaw out and have breakfast before you had to bundle up for school. It was a little over a mile, up and down several hills. There was nothing about buses; farm kids got to ride school buses. And school closures ... there was no such thing. City officials and even the governor didn’t care about kids. In those days, they felt facing adversity built character.

So, don’t tell this grizzled veteran about cold weather. Living in sunny Arizona since shortly after reaching the age of majority is my answer to the miserable experiences of my youth and Christopher Creek is a tropical paradise.

Among those coming to the Creek last weekend were Blake Bottle and Brooke. They had a father-daughter ski outing on their agenda. Reporting back, they indicated the slopes were decent and the anticipated night ski plans were abandoned “because ol’ Dad was wore out.”

Ashley Dodson was among a church group spending Saturday and Sunday at the Christopher Creek Lodge. Ashley’s grandparents were also up for the weekend. Good thing, too, because Grandma had to loan Ashley some gloves to wear.

Wow, Tall Pines Pizza is open for business. Now, the market has always been open, but did you know they are making pizzas? Mike Jelinek, who is constantly updating, remodeling and maintaining the store and old filling station property, has added pizza to his bill of fare. Sheila says the first day they served 14 before running out of dough. Over the weekend they made 80 pizzas! Who would have thought! The prices are reasonable and there is one item on their menu called the CKFD Special. If you get that one, a dollar goes right in a donation jar for the fire department. Pizza and playoff football sounds like a natural combination.

Who said: disagreeing with someone’s politics, from time to time, does not necessarily mean one would dislike the person? — Me

While taking in a little playoff football over the weekend up at Creekside, we ran into Randy and Debbie Dawson. They were dining with Larry Waltemeyer and his wife, Wanda, who we officially met for the first time. Larry is another who grew up coming to the Creek in the summer. Their place, down on Columbine is across the creek from the Landmark. She told me of her impression of the Labor Day Flood Reunion and Larry volunteered a significant donation to the memorial monument.

This Iowa boy grew up with “Wake Up, Little Susie” and “Cathy’s Clown.” Don and Phil Everly were from Kentucky, but got their start on live radio KMA in Shenandoah, Iowa. These rock and roll hall of famers’ close two-part harmony filled the head of a young teenager with the ideas that true love wasn’t always gonna be easy. Phil is gone, now, but not the sweet strains of “Bye Bye, Love” in the recesses of the memories of my youth. Thanks, Phil.

Overheard this past weekend was this quote: “Gramma, there’s someone named ‘Big Hammer’ on the phone for you” ... and that’s another week in the Creek.


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