Sno Dayz offers chance to show how rugged we are

Lesley Toth
Lesley Toth

According to medical experts, one of the best cures for SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is to get moving.

Local Sno Dayz events this weekend offer a chance to do just that. So, if like my husband, you are bemoaning February for being one of the coldest, sunless, nastiest months of the year, I encourage all to take advantage of this mid-winter break to let loose and soak up those rays outdoors this Saturday. At least we have this going for us — February is also the shortest month of the year.

For many Minnesotans, our long, icy winters can make one a bit of a downer. Witty jokes about SAD aside, seasonal depression is a real concern when we’re used to dealing with “Minnesota Nice.” But it’s hard to smile and wish your neighbor a nice day through chattering teeth, frozen snot and 40 below wind chills slicing like knives through the air.

With the absence of this winter festival, November through March in this area of the state must have been a real bummer. It’s nice to see that local leaders are filling a void left by area organizations of yesteryear. It’s a sign that Minnesota toughness is alive and well. We are a people proud of our ruggedness and ability to survive in climates in which most civilized people wouldn’t establish penal colonies.

Here, we love our ice fishing, cross country skiing, snowmobiling and hockey. We know what it feels like to be double dog dared to lick a metal pole in the dead of winter. We would probably sign off on a constitutional amendment requiring every sign indicating motorists are now entering Minnesota to read “Last Exit For The Less Fortuitous.” When mother nature dumps three feet of the white stuff on us, we build bigger forts. It’s in our history, in our blood and now — in our town — to have fun in the snow.

Which reminds me of an example of another Minnesota staple I ran across recently: Sven and Olie jokes. Considering the prime time airing of football’s greatest game this past Sunday, the joke seems more appropriate than ever.

Sven and Olie died and went to Hell (they must have ridiculed Lena’s lutefisk). After awhile, the Devil came by to see how his new guests were doing. To his amazement, he found Sven and Olie were still wearing their winter gear and seemed to be quite comfortable. The Devil asked why they weren’t hot.

“We come from Minnesota where it’s always cold,” Olie explained. “This is feeling pretty good to us.” This upset the Devil, so he turned up the heat. When he returned to check on his newest occupants, to his surprise he found they were still wearing their winter gear. The Devil questioned them on it again.

“You have to remember that we are from Minnesota and it’s very, very cold there,” Sven said. “This is feeling nice to us.”

This made the Devil even more irate, so he turned the thermostat to the maximum temperature. When the Devil went back to Sven and Olie, he found they had only unzipped their coats, but were still wearing their winter clothes. The Devil couldn’t understand what was happening. Their punishment was supposed to be the unbearable heat, but it wasn’t working on these two. He had to ask again.

“We are Minnesotans and it’s 42 below up there,” Sven said. “This is really great for Olie and me.”

Sure he’d beat them, the Devil went to the thermostat and turned it off. He thought if the heat wasn’t a punishment, maybe he’d give them the cold. A little while later the Devil came back to check in on Sven and Olie only to find them cheering and giving each other high fives — happier than ever! Visibly angry, the Devil demanded to know what the Hell was going on.

“We won!” Sven and Olie yelled enthusiastically. “The Vikings finally won the Super Bowl!”