Hello Friends and Family,

1974 Winter in Minnesota, Part 3

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Exploring snowy North Oaks, I encountered the largest snow-woman that I had ever seen. In fact, she was the largest snow-person I had ever seen. I thought (and still think) that the sculpting of the snow was magnificently done. Someone went to a lot of trouble to carve this figure. Magnificent job.

The snow had fallen, the winds died down, and silence lay upon the Community of North Oaks. This home looks just like an early settler's cabin — except it's bigger and warmer and more substantial than the earlier log cabins that provided minimal protection from the elements.

Here is another photo of a snow-covered lake in North Oaks — the Community has many. And yes, you could safely walk all the way across — you maybe, but not me, not even on a dare.

This snow-covered bridge in North Oaks is one of my favorite photos of my decade in Minnesota. If I had been a better photographer at the time, I would have moved so that the out-of-focus branches were not in the shot — and, of course, now I could also use Photoshop to remove them (love the clone tool and the healing tool).

Local festivals are such fun — Gilroy, California has its Garlic Festival (complete with garlic ice cream); Lana‘i, Hawai‘i has its Pineapple Festival (with all kinds of pineapple treats), and Saint Paul, Minnesota has its Winter Carnival (with, uh, WINTER).

According to their website, "The Saint Paul Winter Carnival is the oldest winter festival in the United States. It predates the Tournament of Roses Festival by two years."

It seems that "Several Eastern newspaper correspondents kindled the start of the Winter Carnival by visiting Saint Paul in the fall of 1885 and returning home to report that Minnesota, in general, was another Siberia, unfit for human habitation. A group of local business owners decided to retaliate by creating a wintertime festival which would showcase all the beauty of Minnesota winters."

"Today, King Boreas and the Queen of the Snows rule over approximately 21 members of the Royal Family including Boreas’s four brothers Titan, Euros, Zephyrus, and Notos along with their four princesses, the Prime Minister, and up to ten Royal Guards. The culmination of the Winter Carnival is the dethroning of Boreas by the Vulcan Krewe."

In addition to the ice castle, there are snow sculptures and ice carving. And the food — there has to be food at any festival — attendees could "indulge in food, craft beer, and wine from local restaurants, breweries, and wineries while supporting The Saint Paul Festival and Heritage Foundation."

Meanwhile, over in Minneapolis (the other half of the "Twin Cities"), they had a better idea — the Minneapolis Skyway System. Above the downtown streets, enclosed pedestrian bridges (skyways) were constructed to connect buildings in 80 full city blocks over 9.5 miles (15.3 km) of Downtown Minneapolis, enabling people to walk in climate-controlled comfort year-round. They can even dine in an indoor outdoor cafe, as seen here.

From Wikipedia, "The Minneapolis skyways connect the second or third floors of various office towers, hotels, banks, corporate and government offices, restaurants, and retail stores to the Nicollet Mall shopping district, the Mayo Clinic Square, and the sports facilities at Target Center, Target Field and U.S. Bank Stadium. Several condominium and apartment complexes are skyway-connected as well, allowing residents to live, work, and shop downtown without having to leave the skyway system."

As you can see, most of these folks are wearing winter clothing. As I recall, the areas connected to the Skyway System were not as cold as outside but not as warm as the stores in the background. BTW, note the Home Federal sign with the temperature displayed — +23 degrees — not terribly cold outside but a temperature where you need a nice coat — and don't forget the gloves.

I don't know why but the music from the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" is now lofting through my brain — "Who can turn the world on with her smile? Who can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?"

The intro changed a bit over the years but they kept the best part — with Mary throwing her beret into the air. And her smile.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com