Pure Michigan, the home of the endless winter season

“It ain’t over till it’s over.”

— Baseball legend Yogi Berra

Obviously when baseball manager Yogi Berra said those now immortal words, he was talking about his New York Met team’s chances in the 1973 season. However, with the way things have gone this year, Yogi could have just as easily been talking about the 2017-18 winter in Manistee.

Yes folks, there are many of us who get up each morning, look out the window and mutter the same phrase that Yogi did 45 years ago in the midst of a hotly contested pennant race for the National League championship. Or at least we paraphrase it with a few expletives added in to it.

For me, the reality hits home every morning when my feet hit the cold floor of my charming, historic home. Before I even look at my indoor/outdoor thermometer my feet tell me it is more of the same in store for me today when it comes to the weather. It kind of makes me feel like I am playing Bill Murray in the classic movie “Ground Hog Day” where he keeps reliving the same day over and over.

Mother Nature has tossed a winter at us this year that must be powered by the Energizer Bunny because “it keeps going and going.” What makes matters worse is it got off to a nice early start last fall and has pretty much turned us from a four season (fall, winter, spring and summer) playground to a two season one — winter and the one day each year we experience summer.

Most people probably have forgotten this, but last fall the Onekama Consolidated School football team ended a great 2017 season playing football in the snow. With the way things are going right now, Portager coach John Neph may have the team opening the 2018 camp a mere three and half months from now in the snow.

Isn’t that white fluffy stuff beautiful? Let’s bake a batch of Christmas cookies, sit by the fire and sing “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas.”

Bah humbug!

The recent blast of snow we experienced accompanied by some strong winds had me pulling out my snowblower for the first time in recent memory during the month of April. It kind of struggled to fire up at first and was probably telling me, “what the heck are you doing I am supposed to be in hibernation.”

What was nothing short of amazing is a day or two before that blast hit some of my neighbors were out raking parts of their yards. Then in the span of 48 hours they were plowing through a two-foot snow drift.

Welcome to spring in Northern Michigan.

I could almost hear Tim Allen’s softly spoken words ringing in my ears…”A beautiful spring day in the yard, flowers pushing up and then 18 degrees and snow… take the time to visit Pure Michigan.”

At the rate we are going the Fourth of July Parade just might be colder than what we had for the Sleighbell Parade.

As for  the merchants who like to hold Christmas in July sales — well, they just may actually get the total experience this year.

Ho, ho, ho!

Then there are what I like to refer to as “the denial people” who refuse to admit that Old Man Winter is still kicking them in the backside. You can spot them all over the place wearing nothing more than a T-shirt and shorts sporting not-tan legs, but bright red ones from the cold. There also are the many women you see tip-toeing through slush, snow and sub-20 degree weather with mere canvas tennis shoes and no socks.

It’s springtime in Manistee.

Speaking of tans, it is so nice to see those people — unlike me who went somewhere warm for spring break with their million dollar tans that they are “just dying” to show off to the rest of us. With the cold weather, most of them are forced to cover up like Lawrence of Arabia in a sandstorm and that makes many of us who were left behind in the cold this spring smirk with delight.

What made me laugh was yesterday most of the community received word that this weekend Consumers Energy plans a three-hour power shutdown in the middle of the night this weekend to make some needed repairs. That means lots of people will not have access to heat that night.

To the unknowing eye it might look like Valentine’s Day in April with all the snuggling that will be going on that night, but the reality will probably be to preserve body heat more than promote romance. Heck, it might be so cold that the family dog Fido will finally, get his chance to hop aboard the bed to provide some much needed body heat as it will be ‘all hands on deck type of night.’

After watching the weather this morning before coming to work it looks like for the next week images of Bill Murray in “Ground Hog’s Day” will continue to dominate my mornings. What’s worse is me and thousands of others across the state we will continue to be greeted by Mother Nature each morning as we walk out the door of our homes into the brisk 20 degree weather with the words of “Good morning sunshine” ringing in our ears as the cold air slaps our faces.

Ahh yes, and it’s all Pure Michigan and will continue that way until I…see you next Wednesday.



Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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