Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Why don't you move?

Back when I worked at Lund Boat Company I coordinated the Lund Sportswear program. We worked with Our sister company, Ranger Boats, as they already had a successful sportswear program.  This gave me the opportunity to work with the staff in their Flippin, Arkansas facility. These were great people with legendary southern hospitality.  I worked with a great woman named Sheri. She was helpful, friendly and loved to provide great customer service.  At the end of my first call to Sheri, I learned that the proper way to address anyone down south was  as Darlin' or Honey.

After working with Sheri over the phone for a couple months without meeting her, we were like best buddies.  This is before Facebook, Twitter, the Internet, or texting (even before cell phones were popular), my kids would call this the dark ages of the early 1990's.

In February, we had a terrible cold snap in Minnesota. Perham and New York Mills, Minnesota all were feeling the wrath of winter. There was even a streak of 18 days below zero Fahrenheit. Now if this was Alaska or northern Canada, this may not be unusual, but it is a little extreme for the middle of Minnesota. Fargo, North Dakota is our closest city with tv stations.  One morning Fargo reported a low temperature of forty-two degrees below zero. Now this may not be a record, but it was pretty darn cold. Worse yet, the wind chill was recorded at minus one-hundred, five degrees below zero (This was before the National Weather Service changed the formula, but that would be another story).

Late that morning I got a call from Sheri, starting out "Darlin' I hear it is cold up there today."

My reply was "Yep, forty-two below." This was followed by about ten seconds of silence.  Now we like to think we're tough up here, but this is just plain cold. Unprotected skin will develop frost bite in well under five minutes.

"That's the wind chill,right?" was Sheri's reply.

In the back of my mind, I remember that Arkansas doesn't get to much of what we call winter and that they shut down when they get a couple inches of snow. "No, the wind chill was about one-hundred and five below."

This comment was followed by thirty seconds or more of silence. I thought maybe I'd lost the connection. Finally, Sheri comes back "Honey, why don't you move?"

Although we often say the extreme cold "keeps the riff-raff out," I really didn't have a highly intelligent response.

Since this conversation, I was lucky enough to visit Ranger Boats and Flippin, Arkansas several time. Unfortunately, Sheri had taken a different job, so I never met her face-to-face, although there were several others that extended their southern hospitality that made every visit enjoyable

Luckily, I haven't seen this temperature since. Hopefully, next time Fargo reports this type of temperature, I'll be sunning myself in Hawaii, Jamaica or Arkansas, anyplace not that cold.