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Jack Zaleski, Published February 02 2013

Zaleski: Inviting Stephanie Abrams to winter

It never fails. When temperatures on the northern Plains plunge to positively uncivilized lows, like they did last week, my friends who live in warmer places call or email to see “if I’m OK.” I assured them I was just fine, thank you.

Their concern was intensified last Thursday when the ubiquitous Weather Channel featured North Dakota during an early morning national weather review. One of the channel’s popular meteorologists, Stephanie Abrams, stood before a screen-filling image of North Dakota that featured wind-chill numbers. They ranged from 25 below zero to 40 below. She seemed flabbergasted by the cold. “I’ve got to go there,” she gushed from the set of her Atlanta studio. “I’ve got to experience that kind of cold. How do they live up there?”

Well, Steph, thousands of us live here in winter’s deepest cold. We grouse and grumble about it, but then we fib a bit about how much we love it. I mean, really. Love this stuff? Get real.

Still, there is something satisfying about facing up to cold so bitter that glasses don’t merely fog up when you come inside, they freeze up. I’ve seen people using a windshield scraper to hack ice off their eyeglasses. (OK, not really.) Heck, we can spit into the frigid wind and make snowflakes. How cool is that? It’s the flip side of folks in Arizona frying an egg on a car hood in summer’s sizzling heat. Of course, up here we can freeze eggs so hard they can be used as cannonballs.

“So what do you when it’s that cold?” asked one of my East Coast friends. “Do you go out? Can you walk around?” This from a guy who grew up in New England, where weather can be really miserable.

I explained how we hearty lovers of the far north survive, indeed thrive, in winter. “It’s like this,” I said. “Those who can, get the hell out of here and spend the winter in Florida or Arizona or south Texas. The rest of us bundle up, crank up the thermostat, and wish we were with them.”

Which brings me back to Stephanie Abrams. She’s among the best of the Weather Channel’s crew. She knows her stuff and presents it with passion, good humor and enthusiasm. When she said she wanted to come to North Dakota to experience the cold, I’m guessing she was sincere. So, Stephanie, watch the weather (which is what you do, right?) for the next Arctic blast heading for North Dakota, and come on up. Bring a warm coat, hat, boots – you know the drill. We’ll have warm greetings and hot chocolate for you in The Forum’s newsroom.

Contact Editorial Page Editor Jack Zaleski at jzaleski@forumcomm.com or (701) 241-5521.