From Paul Currier, a story of one-upmanship:
At Proctor’s General Store in Enfield (a while ago), a half dozen old boys were shooting the breeze about how cold it got out their way during this latest snap. One said five below. Another said ten below. "Fifteen below at 5:00 a.m.," said the third.
Chester said, “All I know is it was so cold the smoke froze in the stove pipe.”
But the winner was Junior, who said, “I had to look four clapboards below the sill to find the mercury.”
Which reminds me of a story I wrote a decade or so ago. The idea came from some story somebody told me, but I can’t remember who. Nevertheless, here it is, smoothed out by time and retelling, but with more than a snowflake of truth to it. It’s a conversation among some old boys at a general store, could well have been Proctor’s.
Yes, it was a cold winter. No question about it. But there’ve been colder. Royal remembered his Grampa John telling about one in particular.
Ezra says: “That wa’n’t the winter the town clock froze, was it, Royal?”
“I believe it was. It could have been. It got so cold with the snow and sleet freezing on the town clock, it stopped. And they didn’t get it going again until spring.”
“Hard winters back then,” Ezra says. “Not like now, these warm piddly things they call winter. A lot of days I don’t even bother to light the stove. And the piddly little bit of snow that piddles down, hardly enough to bother with. Wait for spring. Let it melt.”
Ezra is known to be warm blooded.
Urban says: "Cold weather don’t phase, Ezra. New Year’s day last year I happened to drive by his place. Don’t know where I was going, but I must have been going somewhere. It was a nippy day—20, 30 below—but the sun was out. There sat Ezra in his swim trunks. I guess it was his swim trunks, either that or his skivvies, stretched out like a mud worm on the front porch getting a tan.”
“Is that right?” Royal says.
“I guess it must be,” Ezra says. “Urban don’t lie. Neither of course does his brother, Nelson. Neither of course do the politicians down in Concord.”
Royal says: “I never seen Ezra wearing anything but his overalls and undershirt—summer, winter, spring, or fall. I figured that was your uniform, Ezra. Must have been quite a sight, 30 below and Ezra stretched out like a mud worm in his swim trunks. Or was it his skivvies?”