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SIX WORD » LIFE

"40 below keeps the riff-raff out."

by lillybrook on January 21, 2013   |  FacebooktwitterTumblr


That was the "feels like" temperature in Minnesota this morning. Yes, truly. Ever the optimist, I woke up in my 72 degree furnace heated home, looked out the window and said, "The sun is shining!" I'm glad I didn't touch the glass; it's cold here.

Growing up, I worked in my parents' truck stop restaurant in North Dakota and whenever it gets this cold, I remember the farmers who came in for morning coffee. Dressed in Carhart winter gear and a seed stocking cap, these weathered men would sidle up to the counter, calloused hands enveloping a hot mug and utter, "40 below keeps the riff-raff out," a phrase of self-comfort after the hour or so working outside on the farm before coming into the cafe.

Sitting in my home in the city, flannel pants, sweatshirt and comforter keeping me warm in the chair where I write, I may decide to spend the whole day inside. I'll pour milk from cows and stir sugar from beets into my coffee, toast a piece of whole grain bread made of a harvest from a town like my hometown -- and send a little message of gratitude to those farmers back home.

Stay warm.

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