Thursday, May 5, 2022

Back In Time For Winter (or Minnesota's Two Seasons)

It's an old joke: Minnesota (or insert northern midwest state of your choice) has two seasons, winter and road construction. This is, of course, an exaggeration. There are a couple of days between road construction and Winter when the leaves change color and fall from the trees, and a couple of days between Winter and road construction when the temperature jumps from -30° to 85°. But it's essentially correct.

If you want to sound like an "old person," there are few better ways than to start talking about the weather "when I was young." However, my personal recollection suggests that winters in Minnesota were a bit harsher back in the 80s, in general, than they are today. Meteorological data may refute that, but it's my story, so what?

One particularly nasty winter I recall came during high school, specifically February of that year. We lived in the country, about 10 miles away from town, on a gravel road, about a quarter mile from the highway. The snowfall was so significant that we found ourselves snowed-in on the farm for nearly a week. I remember the driveway was just a massive drift of snow, and the only reason you could tell where the road was was because there weren't telephone poles in the middle. School was cancelled for a couple of days, but as soon as the paved roads were clear, they opened school at ran the buses only on the paved roads. So, in order for us to get to school, we had to walk up the gravel road to the highway and wait for the bus. We literally walked to school in the snow, uphill one way (fortunately, back home was downhill).

Another winter I have vague memories of consisted of a snowstorm that left a drift that went up to the roof of one of the sheds on the farm (about 7 feet high).

Yet another winter saw us on the bus on the way to school. We turned down one of the country roads, only to find out that we had driven into snow that was simply too deep for the bus to drive through. Our bus driver, a hard-core dude that was one of the coolest drivers I had ever had, got his shovel out and dug the bus free so we could make it to school, even if we were a bit late.

Those are the winters as I remember them. Minnesota winters were impressive, and left an impression.

Strip 49/166 - Nothing under my hat (except aliens)!

These strips dropped in January, so it made sense for Furble and FC to come back to Earth in the middle of winter. I'm not sure where the idea of the pair being trapped underneath a toque came from, but it did set up a number of strips where I didn't actually draw the characters, but they were all standard story strips (no galleries).

Strip 50/166 - TV Box Callback

A quick callback to the TV box from early in the strip. And our duo getting crushed by what is supposed to be some sort of large clump of snow, but ends up looking more like an unbaked pizza dough. Which, I guess wouldn't have been that much more odd than getting caught under a random hat.

Strip 51/166 - Use the tools you have...

I mean, given FC's design, he probably could be used as a shovel of sorts. Probably not the most dignified use of a companion, but desperate times...

Strip 52/166 - Questionable structural integrity of that snow

I don't know if Furble is using FC as a shovel or not, but they've made it out from under the hat. It's more subtle that I intended, but if you look at the top of the snow, you see the snow being upended like Bugs Bunny burrowing through the dirt. Unfortunately, that left turn at Albuquerque isn't going to help get them out of a Minnesota winter here. Maybe once road construction season comes around.

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