If the winter weather of late already has you giving up on any chance of snow this winter, you may want to consider what the folks in Denver faced last weekend.
You might be a little more grateful for the spring-like temperatures that smacked me in the face Sunday when I walked out of church.
If you missed the football game between the Denver Broncos and the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday afternoon, they played that contest in 16-degree weather. Every player on the field was blowing steam with every breath. Most of the players had long sleeves under their uniforms to ward off the cold. I don’t know if the ones without long sleeves thought it made them tough, or if they just left their longjohns at the house by mistake.
By the end of the game, Denver coach John Fox looked like his face was absolutely frost-bitten. He obviously couldn’t talk because he failed to call any plays at the end of regulation when the Broncos had a chance to win. The Denver punter kept his hands in his handwarmer so long before each punt I thought he wouldn’t be able to get them out in time to catch the ball when it was snapped.
But here in the Triangle, we were enjoying balmy weather all weekend. The idea of snow and bracing cold couldn’t have been much further from our minds.
Sixteen-degree weather doesn’t sound like my idea of fun, but I don’t mind the occasional occurrence of days when the temperature hovers around 30 and the skies fill with ominous, dark, low-hanging clouds that just seem to be begging to drop their snow upon our heads.
Alas, we don’t get too many days like that here. That’s too bad. It’s not too bad that we don’t deal with a lot of 16-degree days.
The coldest days I remember around here came in the early 1980s, when the temperature at the farm dropped to about 5 degrees. We went to work that morning and found the water pipes in all the hog pens were all frozen. The animals couldn’t get any water. We discovered that the water line was frozen all the way to the pump house, an uninsulated building with a concrete floor and corrugated material for walls and tin roof, which sat some 50 yards or so away from our hog houses. Because it was so far from the buildings, and because we couldn’t get any water in the buildings anyway, Daddy and I went home and got our big Igloo cooler and filled it with hot water and we grabbed all the towels we had in the house.
We returned to the pump house and wet the towels in the hot water and covered the pipes leading from the pump to the buildings. As the water in the towels got cooler, we would dunk them in the cooler again and rewarm them. The process took us several hours, but we finally got the pipes unfrozen, When we went back into the hog houses, the animals were lined up waiting to drink.
It was an intense few hours and it was the most bitterly cold work I’ve ever done. The walls of the pump house did nothing to shield us from the cold.
After the weather broke, Daddy went to the agri-supply store and bought some tape with heating coils wrapped inside the tape. We plugged that tape into a socket whenever the weather turned cold just to keep the pipes from freezing up again. It worked. We never endured another painful experience like that. Of course, we also never had to deal with 5 degree weather after that.
So don’t let the warm winter disappoint you too much. Maybe one day soon, the temperature will drop into the low 30s or upper 20s and we’ll be bathed in snow for a few days. And if that doesn’t happen, we can always repeat the mantra of Denver Broncos fans after they lost to the Baltimore Ravens. “Wait ‘til next year.”