Sunday, January 14, 2007

Mr. Welch's Column

We had several inches of snow the other day and then a few days of weather so cold that most of the snow actually stayed around. Hardy ex-Minnesotan that I am, I was feeling right at home. So I found Bob Welch's column today very amusing on a number of levels.

Bob writes a column in the Register-Guard three times a week and has also written about 8 books. I think he's an excellent writer.

Here's his column today:

Bob Welch: Wintry curse takes a turn for the verse
The Register-Guard
Published: Sunday, January 14, 2007

With apologies to Canadian poet Robert Service and his poem, "The Cremation of Sam McGee":

There are strange things done
in the midnight sun by the men
who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret
tales that would make your blood
run cold.
But the frozen north, like the Firth of
Forth, has no lock on weather
For who will forget, the recent
cold-hit, taken by County of Lane?
The snow and ice lashed, so cocky
and brash, snowballs soon being
And then came the hustle and
earnest bustle from the tire boys
at Les Schwab.
'Twas January-mid, when we started
to skid, on the morn and evening
The temperature plunged and
events were expunged from butte
to whitened butte.
From offshore it came, a storm
much acclaimed, by Fischer,
Calbreath and Chuey;
While transplants rolled eyes, and
proudly did sigh, "This - a
storm? That's pure hooey."
But others worried, as snowflakes
flurried, and in typical
Slapped on their chains, from
Coburg to Drain, in a desperate
search for traction.
Ignoring such snufflers, some
wrapped in mufflers, and
Gore-Tex to thwart the cold;
Never mind the fact that they took
this tack in offices
"I'll tell you squarely, it snows here
so rarely that we must milk it for
all it's worth";
Then gazed at the flakes, their souls
wide awake, as they melded with
Mother Earth.
Beneath icicled eaves, they put on
their skis, and, being Oregonians,
they dared -
To shush on Pre's Trail, no gusto
curtailed, even when paths
melted bare;
They got on cell phones to call
long-ago homes, to say, "Hey,
we're surviving the storm!"
Then ordered in pizza, from Papa's
and Schmizza, and flipped on gas
fires to stay warm.
McGee may have been cold, as his
story is told, in the bitter land he
had chosen;
But did Service's guy, in his poetic
outcry, find his Subaru door
plum frozen?
SUV owners, and those driving
loaners, shifted into four-wheel
Their guilt now subsided, since the
last time they tried it, was back
in ninety-five.
Others fretted and froze, and put on
more clothes, "My gosh, it
appears we're all goners!"
From mountains to ocean,
Harrisburg to Goshen, they'd
become modern-day Donners;
As radio stations, to teenage
ovations, broadcast school
closures aplenty.
A panic set in, iced with chagrin:
"They're talking lows down
near twenty!"
Glove-handed joggers, with the
grit of loggers, donned
studded swooshes,
From Florence to Lowell, ice gripped
by their soles, to avoid ghastly
falls on their tushes;
Like Currier & Ives, they exchanged
high fives: "We are Oregonians -
hear us roar!"
Then once back inside, swallowed
their pride, hearing Bismarck
was sub-twenty-four.
Transplants reminded, you've all
been blindsided, by a mere
dusting of snow.
"This is nothin'," they said while
huffin', "Take it from someone
who knows."
"In the cold Midwest," they'd boldly
suggest, "we shrug at sub-zero
"Let me, then, ask why," came the
native's reply, "you're shivering
just like us wimps."

Bob Welch can be reached at
Edited to add: Bob sent me this email--"I actually had a line with you mentioned in it -- something about people staying home to read "Smucker and Kesey" but the rhymes weren't strong and I was one stanza too long so something had to go."

(I realize it's kind of bragging to tell you that but Emily said it's righteous bragging.)


  1. Yea, this "transplant" was congratulating herself on remembering how to drive in snow and ice...for a little while anyway! Then Dean had to come rescue me cuz I couldn't get up the hill! Kinda deflating!!! Pauline

  2. And here I thought from the title that you had taken up VidBlogging..

  3. Ignore that last comment! I was reading ITF and LitS at the same time and posted the comment on the wrong post!