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When the gales of November go wimpy

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So we're experiencing a pretty mild start to Winter 2016 and this Northland resident has been taking full advantage of it. Every now and then, the lonely strands on top of my head prickle at the gentle whisper of a lake breeze, instead of being buried beneath a mountain of stocking cap. My golf clubs, usually packed up and recovering from a summer of ground smacks and ball whiffs, have continued to have epithets hurled at them the past few weeks. And even now, the words "I am definitely going to start jogging this summer" remain plausibly poised on my lips. All of this is possible because, much like karaoke open mike nights and Pokemon Go, summer hangs around despite its time being well over.

Usually when our local TV weather people mutter "mild" anytime in November, they're talking about temperatures in the teens and lake winds only slicing off one of your earlobes. But this year, you can't even say winter is here yet. Well, you could say it, but we veterans of Twin Ports Novembers Past would laugh at you. You think what we've been experiencing is a normal November? Ummmmm ... not quite.

November 1985: The Socrates was anchored out on Lake Superior, patiently waiting to enter the Duluth port when a storm blew in and launched it toward shore with 40 mile-per-hour gale force winds. It became wedged in the soft beach sand of Park Point and quickly became Duluth's most photographed icon, behind the Lift Bridge and Dennis Anderson's toupee.

November 1983: The Thanksgiving Blizzard. I worked overnights at the Duluth Arena during this monster snowstorm that featured booming thunder and bright flashes of lightning. We were able to get our cars pulled into the complex for the night, but a few of us hungry souls eventually ventured out into the blinding rage of Mother Nature to walk down and eat at the Godfather's Pizza on London Road. Today, the only way I'd do something that stupid would be if Godfather's Pizza was still around.

November 1975: The original Gales of November blew in and reminded everyone that nature always, always has the power to literally change our landscapes forever, both physically and emotionally.

So enjoy that green, unruly yard, the shrubbery that's still exploding around the deck and those last few garden tomatoes dangling precariously on the vine. But I wouldn't wait much past this weekend to prepare for the big, bad winter that we all know is coming.

Speaking of which, think I'll fulfill my summer promise and "jog" out to the garage and unbury the snow shovel.

It's almost Thanksgiving, after all.

Brian Matuszak

Brian Matuszak is the founder of Rubber Chicken Theater and invites you to follow him and his theater company on Twitter at twitter.com/rchickentheater, like them on Facebook at Rubber Chicken Theater and visit their website at RubberChickenTheater.com.

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