Dealing with the cold

Early Sunday morning, the street light at the corner of our yard had a halo around it. And as the sun was rising in the east, it seemed like a fog had descended across the community as I looked out from a second-floor bedroom window.
In reality, it was just ice crystals in the air.
“Alexa” announced to me as I began making breakfast that the outside temperature was minus-43 C. I knew then that the hydro meter would be spinning madly as I reheated my garage workshop to continue on my project.
Announcements began appearing on Facebook pages. Brenda from Bergland posted the frigid temperature in that community. Rev. Frances Flook announced that services were being cancelled at the United Churches in both Emo and Devlin, and she was requesting everyone to stay safe indoors.
Someone posted a cartoon asking what was in the freezer. The caption announced that all of Northwestern Ontario was in the freezer.
A friend in Missouri, meanwhile, lamented that they were expecting our freezing temperatures were going to make it to Lake of the Ozarks. We will share our cold with them and hope they send warm weather our way come early March.
Other postings showed anywhere from minus-40 to minus-53 C without the wind chill factored in. I only hoped that my vehicle parked outside (but plugged in) would start. It had failed to start on Friday morning under similar conditions.
It took a while to warm the wood shop but not quite as long as Saturday morning as there still was some latent heat from the previous day. Still, it takes a long time to get all the cold out of the benches and machinery in the shop.
I believe that I now find the cold much more penetrating than I did as a kid or paper carrier more than 55 years ago. Back then, I wore felt boots inside of rubber zip up over-shoes. And my feet were never cold.
Eventually, those felt shoes and rubber overshoes were replace with “Sorels,” which consisted of a much higher felt liner packed into a rubber boot with leather uppers. A heavy pair of wool socks would keep your feet toasty warm.
We didn’t dawdle but walked briskly so that we normally finished our papers faster on cold days than warm summer ones.
Listening to CBC Radio on Monday morning, school bus cancellations were announced for Thunder Bay and communities east of there. North of us, Dryden, Ear Falls, Red Lake, Sioux Lookout, and other communities also had cancelled school bus travel.
I don’t ever remember buses being cancelled because of the cold here in Rainy River District.
Someone reminded me later Sunday that school buses did not run in Fort Frances in the 1950s and ’60s and regardless of how far you were from a school, you were expected to walk. Maybe we were heartier than today’s students or maybe we learned that fashion was staying warm, and layering up would keep you warm on your trek to school and back home.
And cold winter exercise was good for you.