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Coulee Medical Center ER and Walk-In Care

By Jesse Utz 

Winter memories

Jess Shut Up


This early snow and cold front has me remembering back to my childhood and the fun we had in the snow jungles during winter. We spent almost all day outside, in the bitter cold. Of course, we were stacked up with layers upon layers of long johns, socks, sweats, pants, sweaters, moon boots, snow suits, scarves, gloves, beanies and whatever other clothing we were required to wear. We all felt like the “Michelin Man” as we waddled to our locations.

Sledding, snow ball fights, snow angles and many other cold weather events kept us out all day. I mean, we had just gotten dressed in that much clothing; we were staying out as long as we could. Snowmen built, snowmen tackled and destroyed. Repeat.

Sledding was the main event, of course, but there were other adventures as well, including icicle wars, ending with all of us trying an ice Popsicle. There was the freezing wait for the bus at the bus stop. No matter how cold or how hard you tried to stop it, there was always at least one whitewash at the bus stop.

Then there was the inevitable challenge: the tongue versus metal pole. Thanks to “A Christmas Story,” we all knew what happened if you were triple-dog dared to do it, and we all know of at least one person who tried it and ended with blood dripping from their licker.

Ice skating used to be popular here too, with kids all gathering at Coulee Playland to fall down repeatedly and add bruising and frostbite to our limbs. I am sure a fair share of broken wrists and ankles came from this activity too.

As we got older, the layers of clothing needed to go outside shrunk — mostly because we were too cool — and the danger rose. “Hooky bobbing,” being pulled behind a moving vehicle, took over as the pastime of choice, snowball fights became ice ball fights, and our parents’ patience became stretched to the max. Then there were the football games. Concussion city, more broken bones and soreness like never before.

But what stayed the same, when you returned home after a long day of being outside in the frozen tundra, was the warm beverage. Hot cocoa or hot cider just seemed to warm the bones just right. It made it all seem worth it. Then we could do it all again the next day.

Today, as I sat here freezing, I thought of those more joyous times. We did not have to worry about driving, frozen pipes, shoveling snow, and money for Christmas. We just had fun in our winter wonderland. By the way, we can still enjoy the cocoa. I’m just saying.

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