Cold Weather Jokes

Winter Weather -- "Cold Enough For Ya?"

By Sam Johnson

     More than the state of our nation and the economy, more than the threat of nuclear war or the prospects of peace, even more than the latest wranglings between Republicans and Democrats, no topic of conversation receives more attention than the weather.
That’s because it’s a universal topic that everyone experiences, everyone can relate to, and everyone can talk about, no matter what their background.
Actually, it’s understandable because everyone has an opinion on the weather, and more often than not, we agree with one another -- no matter what party or political persuasion we lean towards!

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For example, just the other day while gassing up at a local gas station and bait shop, I was asked my opinion about the weather by complete strangers who were likewise gassing-up, and shivering and shaking in their boots while waiting for the tank to fill:
-- “Boy, some kind of day out here, don’t you think?”
-- “What do you say, a little brisk out here or what?
-- “Sounds like we’re in for the big deep-freeze this weekend!”
There’s no better way to break the ice, get someone going, or just kill a few minutes standing in line or waiting for a meeting to start, than to strike up a conversation about the weather.
-- “Man alive it’s cold out there! Have you heard the temperature today?”
-- “Is this cold snap supposed to last long?
-- “What’s this I hear about another storm headed our way?”
Or my favorite: “Cold enough out there for you today?” (“Oh, it’s not so bad. Only one ear has dropped off, and I think those pebbles rolling around in my boots are my toes!)      
But what I’ve noticed is that the main factor determining how much of any given conversation will be devoted to the weather, is the ages of the people who are talking.
     The ages of people conversing has a great deal to do with the length of the conversation about the weather.
For example, I’ve noticed that If there is one young person, (say 10-15 years old), and one older person, (say mid-’70’s), the conversation is typically dominated by the older person who begins with . . . “Talk about cold weather, why I can remember . . .”  or more typically . . . “When I was your age . . .” and they go on to tell how they were the oldest of the children and had to get up early to stoke the fire or shovel coal, how they had to dress in front of the kitchen stove and wear scratchy woolen long-johns, how they had to eat lumpy oatmeal or gruel, hitch the horses or build a little coal fire under the oil pan of the family flivver to warm it up, or how they had to walk 10 miles through 5 foot snow drifts and a piercing cold wind to get to school. Then when they got home, they shoveled sidewalks for a nickel to earn enough money to . . . .
The one-sided conversation ends only when the youngster silently sneaks away, leaving the oldster to reminisce about “the good old days” to himself.
Now if the two people are both over 70 years old, then the conversation about the weather turns into a battle of memories. “Well I can remember back in . . .”  and they exchange war stories about the worst winters, blizzards, storms, etc. that they can remember.
This can go on for days, even weeks.
For example, while waiting in a long line at the post office just before Christmas, two retired farmers behind me began reminiscing about the March blizzard of 1920 that killed 34 people. By the time we finally reached the counter, they were discussing the snow storm of ’41 in which 60 people parished.
When I finished mailing my packages and headed for the door, I  heard one of them say, “no, the blizzard of ’66 is the worst one I can remember...35 inches of snow over three days and winds 70 miles an hour or better left drifts 20-30 feet high out at our place...."
     When I ran into them again at the post office just the other day, they were talking about the snow and ice storm of ’97 that led to “the flood of the century” that “wiped out our son’s place in Grand Forks.”
Generally speaking, however, if the two people conversing about the weather are a bit younger, the conversation is not so much about their memories of winters long ago, as it is a comparison of recent winters or a comparison of the climates they live in.
For example, when I went inside the bait shop to pay for my tank of gas, there were several out-of-town fisherman standing around the counter waiting to pay for their minnows and comparing notes. One of the fellows from New York claimed that just a few days before coming here, it had snowed so hard and been so cold there, that he saw street vendors selling coffee on a stick.
“That’s nothing,” said a fisherman from Wisconsin. “Back where I’m from, it’s been so cold that the old folks have to put their dentures in anti-freeze over night!”
Just then, a Devils Lake fisherman on his way out the door paused a moment, turned around and added, “Why that’s not cold. Heck, just yesterday when I was about to leave for work, I heard a scratching on the back door. When I opened it up, there was my old Christmas tree trying to get back in!”
Now that’s cold!

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