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John Lamb, Published March 20 2012

John Lamb: Region’s recent warm weather? I’m giving it the cold shoulder

Golfing. Riding motorcycles. Grilling. Locals are excited about these summery activities the unseasonably warm March weather is allowing them to do.

Unfortunately, that’s not always me.

As a natural-born North Dakotan, I’m tempted to take everything with a fistful of salt – and not that fancy, gourmet, coarse sea salt all those foodies sprinkle over their salads. Morton’s Salt Substitute works just fine for me and my high blood pressure, thanks.

There is a tendency among many of us Peace Gardeners to not get too excited about things. Some might call it stoic, but I prefer to think of it as cautiously pessimistic, and that especially comes out when talking about the weather. Namely, it could always be worse.

There may be a sunny side of the street, but some of us don’t trust it because it looks too nice. Sure, it may be sunny over there, but if you don’t have sunscreen, you’ll get skin cancer. Then who will be smiling? The hospitals when they send you the bills, that’s who.

Last Friday, when the sun was shining to the tune of 70-some degrees, folks were beaming like crazy. A friend called to tell me he was excited to be grilling for the first time of the season.

“Ha. Good luck with that,” I scoffed. “It’s a little too windy, dontcha think?”

Not to mention the high winds could blow all of that good topsoil away because there’s no more snow cover to hold it down. That’s not going to sit well with the farmers.

And speaking of no snow, the scant precipitation we received over the last few months has already got good North Dakotans talking about a drought.

This means that homeowners will soon have to hook up their hoses and start watering their yards and gardens, so water bills will be going up this year.

Speaking of yards, this early spring means people will have to get their lawnmowers tuned up. That’s just another expense when some people are still paying for snow removal service they never really needed.

When it was so unseasonably warm this past Saturday, I saw a man in shorts and flip-flops mowing his boulevard. As he got closer to the street, more dust and gravel was kicked up, and I said to myself, “If that were me, I’d be wearing jeans to keep my legs from getting scratched. But that’s just me. What do I know? I’m just an apartment dweller who has to sleep with the windows open because the radiators are still on. I’m lucky to sleep through the night with all the traffic, and then the birds start chirping in the morning, waking me up nice and early. But that’s all right. I’ll survive.”

At least until this drought gets the best of us and a spark from a lawnmower starts a fire that spreads across the state, igniting the Bakken Formation and sending us all up in a ball of fire.

So let me ask you something, sun worshippers: “Hot enough for ya?”


Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533