Stangl

We are almost there. In a few short days, February will be over.

While I am generally not a person who wishes his life away, I will be glad to (hopefully) get out of the snow-globe that has been February.

Any time you come close to or actually break records for snowfall, there’s bound to be some complications. Many felt that after we cruised through November, December, and even January relatively unscathed we were in the clear.

Not so much.

I understand that March, April, and even May can result in snowfall, but I know that we are on the way to spring, glorious spring.

As I was using my snow blower last week, I thought about how technology has changed the way we work and play in winter.

Looking back through the files of the newspaper, less than a century ago streets and roads were cleared by hand. Crews of men spent hours shoveling snow. Now, with snow plows and snow blowers, one person can easily do in minutes what it took hours or even days to accomplish in the past.

Even the railroads, the lifeline of a community, had to wait for people to clear the tracks when the snowfall was too heavy for trains to power through.

We live in a time of wonder and miracles. I can only imagine what a street clearer of a century ago would make of a snowplow.

I had a conversation last week with a snowmobiler about how technology has revolutionized sleds. I told him that it has been about 40 years since I rode a snowmobile. My memory of the experience was that the sled was heavy, difficult to start (pull start), and prone to frequent break downs.

These memories evoked a smile and head nod from the snowmobiler. He had a similar experience, but he was happy to tell me that technology has vastly improved the experience.

He told me that he and some friends had gone on a four day ride in Minnesota, riding over 100 miles a day, stopping to fuel their sleds at gas stations before heading back out. Sleds today have electric starters, can go in reverse, and are very reliable. All of the riders were able to enjoy the rides and, after soaking in a hot tub in the evening, they were ready to go for the next day.

Riders can even purchase helmets that plug into the sled and defog their visor and there are other heated accessories as well.

This is a far cry from the early snowmobile suits that were quilted coveralls.

But in their defense, these suits were a godsend to me as a paper boy. Trudging around in the snow, I was able to stay warm in my big brother’s snowmobile suit. Before the suit, I wore a couple of pairs of pants, coat, gloves, hat and scarf. I looked like little brother Randy from the movie “A Christmas Story” and really didn’t even stay warm. If I fell down, getting back up wasn’t always guaranteed.

So, as we trudge through the last of winter, try to enjoy the weather. The days are getting longer and the sun, when it shines, is glorious.

And if you lose heart, consider this: Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 10.

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at tstangl@theameryfreepress.com, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading; I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.