Joe Soucheray: This weather is just heavenly and I know it can’t last

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Christmas Eve day happens to be the third day of spring for members of the Royal Order of the 21sters, those of us who are comfortably delusional with the insistence that once the days began getting longer at 9:27 p.m. Dec. 21, the misery of winter was behind us. We see light at the end of the tunnel. Some of us are jogging in shorts.

And aren’t the running paths and streets and sidewalks glorious? Of course they are. We could just as easily be fighting icy ruts and slippery going and the wet glop that moves young mothers to sigh as they constantly change snowsuits and place the mittens and boots to dry near the radiator, promoting the malodorous smell of wet dogs.

It was about this time of year in 1991, following the Halloween Blizzard, that I was driving on Grand Avenue one night when my wheels jumped out of the rutted paths and I was suddenly sailing horizontally down the street. I don’t miss that.

We went to a preschooler’s Christmas program the other night and everybody seemed cheerful. We didn’t have to stomp snow off our shoes in the gathering space or stuff our pockets with caps and gloves. The child in question had a little trouble with the sign of the cross, waving her hands around like she was waving away wasps. Then she got the bright idea that she could probably stand out even more if she slid the wide ribbon on her head down over her face and sang while masked.

Her sisters were in stitches.

“What am I going to do with her?’’ her mother said.

“Boarding school,’’ I said. “In Europe.’’

The show lasted only 30 minutes start to finish and we were back outside. We weren’t freezing and we weren’t falling down in the parking lot. Nature is endlessly whimsical and we will have to pay for this brown Christmas sooner or later, but for now we’re on Easy Street, cheating the Polar Express with each passing day.

I might turn the water back on, hook up a hose and wash a car. What couldn’t we do? Golfing is not out of the question. I now still have time to trim some branches off the lilac bushes that drooped under all that snow last April and never rebounded. I should have gotten to them by now. I need a proper cutting tool, but I don’t mind heading off to the hardware store on these snow-free streets.

In my neck of the woods, street construction appears to have concluded and the new pavement is wonderful. I thought a string of islands built on Fairview Avenue would be problematic under plowed snow, but now that they can still be seen, they are pleasant enough architectural affectations.

Orthopedic surgeons and snowmobile dealers have their noses pressed to the window. The rest of us are giddy to see how long this can last. I look at temperatures in Florida cities and I wouldn’t go through the hassle of an airport to gain a measly 30 degrees.

Oh, it’s just heavenly and I know it can’t last. Any day now, the snow will fall and we will encounter the bane of our winter experience, the dreaded pothole.

Enjoy it while it lasts and join the 21sters in spirit if you wish. If we can’t gut out another eight weeks or so, then we weren’t meant to be Minnesotans.

Joe Soucheray can be reached at Soucheray’s “Garage Logic’’ podcast can be heard at

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