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Granite Falls Advocate Tribune
  • Kathy’s Conundrums

  • Freezing rain. Blowing snow. White-out conditions. Two hour late start. Cabin fever. It’s a 100 percent chance that people who know what these are live in Minnesota. The question should not be where do people who have experienced these conditions up close and personal live?…it should be why do peopl...
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  •     Freezing rain. Blowing snow. White-out conditions. Two hour late start.  Cabin fever.
        It’s a 100 percent chance that people who know what these are live in Minnesota.
        The question should not be where do people who have experienced these conditions up close and personal live?…it should be why do people live in a place where these conditions exist?
        I know why I live here.  I was born in Minnesota and grew up in North Dakota. I could ask, “Why was I born in Minnesota? Simple answer, my parents were born in Minnesota.  Why were they born in Minnesota? Again a simple answer, their parents had come to this country from Wales and Western Europe.
        Our grandparents and great grandparents took a leap of faith and a giant step into a brave new world to make a better life for their families.
        The big question is not why they came to America; it is why did they choose Minnesota?
        I have spoken to a number of folks with Scandinavian heritage that have shared that their ancestors came to Minnesota because they had family here that sent them passage money.  Others have told me that they came here, not because they personally had family here, but they knew that other Scandinavians had settled here and they felt comfortable living in an area where they could share a common language and culture.
        Once I moved to this area, it didn’t take me long to realize that Norwegians settled around Hanley Falls and Germans settled around Wood Lake.
        I know that some settled here because they bought tickets on the railroad and headed west.  Their money bought them a ticket as far as southwestern Minnesota.
        There are as many reasons why people settled in Minnesota as there are people who actually settled here. I’ll lay odds that every single immigrant that settled in Minnesota did not come here in the dead of winter.
        And once the freezing rain, blowing snow and white-out conditions of winter roared out of the northwest it was too late to move on.
        As a result we have third, fourth and fifth generation Americans who suffer from a winter malady identified as ‘cabin fever.’
        What is ‘cabin fever’?  My favorite internet source, Wikipedia,  states: Cabin fever is an idio-matic term, first recorded in 1918 for a claustrophobic reaction that takes place when a person or group is isolated and/or shut in a small space, with nothing to do for an extended period. Cabin fever describes the extreme irritability and restlessness a person may feel in these situations.
    Page 2 of 2 -     When experiencing cabin fever, a person may tend to sleep, have distrust of anyone they are with, and an urge to go outside even in the rain, snow, dark or hail.
        While I was checking out information on cabin fever I came across a couple of YouTube videos that featured a song from a Muppet Movie. The person who wrote the song obviously was from Minnesota.  Here are some of the lyrics: “I got cabin fever it's burning in my brain. I've got cabin fever it's driving me insane; My sanity is hanging by a thread. Since we're going nowhere I've gone out of my head; I've got cabin fever. I think I've lost my grip; I was floating 'neath a tropic moon, and dreaming of a blue lagoon. Now I'm crazy as a loon.”
        I strongly suggest that good therapy for cabin fever is to go on-line to watch and listen to a couple of the videos that feature the song.
        Oh, and there is another word Minnesotans know…snowbird… also an excellent therapy for cabin fever.

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