Friday’s Weekend Column
About a Minnesota Man Exploring Life in the South

I Found Nanook, and He Now Lives In North Florida
by James Glaser
October 31, 2008

By Florida standards it got cold this week. Tuesday morning it was 42 when I started out for work, and when I got near the State Capital I saw him. It was either Nanook of the North, wrapped in a seal skin coat with caribou hide boots and a hood from his sweat shirt covering his head, or it was a close relative.

It seems that down here when the temperature dips below fifty above, people start to get ready for the new ice age. Either that or they still have that last great coat they bought up North before moving down here, and by golly they are going to get their money's worth out of it yet. So, every time there is a bit of a nip in the air they get that down-filled Eddie Bauer parka out of the closet, and start thinking about if they should start shopping for some insulated boots.

I thought that was one of the advantages of living down in the South. You didn't need to use half the space in your closet for two coats and a bunch of sweaters. By afternoon it was in the high fifties, but still they asked me where my coat was, and wasn't I cold when I went to the local lumber company. I said, "Yeah sure, you betcha I'm cold." Then they remembered my telling them I had moved down here from Northern Minnesota. Then just like in Minnesota, we talked on and on about how cold it could get here, and they told me the story about the snow that fell at Lake Ella, five miles north of there back in the early 1950's.

I kid you not. At fifty degrees above zero, people were walking around with hooded sweatshirts on, and they had a knit hat pulled down over their ears under that hood. There were people working hard dressed like that, too.

I can't even imagine how Soldiers and Marines from the South fought in the cold during the Korean War or how about in the Battle of the Bulge in WWII? They must have truly suffered.

For me, my production level at the shop has soared now that things are cooling off, and when I am driving around, I can always spot a fellow newly arrived Northerner, by their lack of heavy clothing.

I guess it all works out the same depending on where you come from. I doubt I'll ever be able to handle the heat of summer like a native from down here. The same goes for Southerners who head North. I bet they never get used to the cold.

People in the North could never make it without heat in the winter, and I know I could never make it in the heat of the South without air conditioning, but there were people living here before they had AC or even fans. I have no idea how they ever did that.

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