Cold Is Relative After All

It depends on where you are and what you're doing when it comes to it being cold.

For the first time in five year, the mercury dipped to lower than 10 degrees below zero in our area. It didn't approach the record minus 35 set at New Whiteland 15 years ago but it was still cold, dipping to 12 degrees below on Friday morning, Jan 16, with wind chills at 27 below zero.


I'm helping do chores for a friend laid up with shoulder surgery, and it was so cold Friday morning his elderly mom, no bigger than a minute but as spry as anyone near that age you'll ever meet, finally agreed to let me do chores. Otherwise, she's out there every morning and night.


How cold was it? Well, I'm not into cold jokes, but it was so cold that walking 200 feet from one hog house to another gave me an icy headache. The long johns were on- I even bought a new heavy overcoat that zips shut, but my face was exposed just under my hood.


It was also so cold that the next morning when we needed to move sows on a pig carrier, the small John Deere utility started, but then jelled out, right in the middle of the driveway. We put a space heater on it, pointed toward the injectors about 6-12 inches away, and waited. In about 15 minutes, she tried to fire. I told my son to get on the seat and be ready to at least drive her off the driveway if she ran. She took off, and stayed with it while he drove off to get the sows. That mission was accomplished. Pumping the pit- well, that was another story,. The pump on that tank froze partially, making it possible to only remove a small amount of liquid from the pit at once.


So, that's cold, I thought. Then my daughter Ashley says it was minus 16 and minus 30 wind chill at Purdue. The student rumor is they had class because President Cordova walked it and said it wasn't so bad. Who knows- students love to tell stories.


Then I find out it's minus 23 actual temperature in Chicago, with pipes freezing in my copy editors house. Wow- now that's cold!


But what convinced me that 'cold' is relative is when I talked to my daughter, Allison, in Athens, Georgia. When we were 12 below, it actually slipped to 18 above in Athens, although it warmed above freezing during the day. Wind chill at the low point was in the single digits.


Then she sheepishly told me, "Yeah, there is one county public school district that cancelled classes today because of the cold."


Say what? Cold certainly is relative. Of course our hearty brethren in Minnesota probably laugh at our officials who cancelled school in some locations for minus 12.


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