No holiday plans? Go looking for lingering snow piles

  • Article by: JAMES LILEKS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 28, 2011 - 4:19 PM

According to KSTP, there's still a pile of snow in the Sears parking lot in St. Paul. Crews mounded up the snow in the lot all winter, and its armadillo skin of grit and grot made the sun's rays bounce right off. There it was, a few days from Memorial Day, a mocking symbol of this clammy spring. So the news said on Thursday, anyway. I'll take their word. "Driving to St. Paul to see if there's snow" was exactly last on my list of things to do Friday -- heck, you start the holiday weekend like that, it's all anticlimax from there.

But I remembered seeing a small pile of snow two weeks ago in an Edina parking lot, so I went to see if it still existed. Drove around, thinking, it's not that looking for snow on Memorial Day weekend bothers me, it's the high possibility of success. Happy to say I failed: Either the floe had been destroyed by superstitious locals who blamed it for the chilly May -- that's the one that's been causing all the problems! Heretic! Burn it! -- or it had become so dense that no light could escape, like a black hole. Which may explain why some people who parked nearby couldn't find their cars after work.

It's not the most enthusiastic endorsement of our state to say, "Oh, snow's gone by June, mostly," but some years are like that. Snow can stick around. Snow cannot take a hint. And we used to encourage it. Before ice-making machinery, they stored it in special houses to make it last, so you could drop a chunk of lake water into your horehound rickey in August, or whatever they drank. If they did this today, we'd have ice snobs: Is this the '97 Harriet? Top notes of carp, a nice mossy finish. We would have ice boutiques: All ice is shade-grown, cut by hand, sustainably harvested, and $4 a cube.

Anyway, if Memorial Day turns out colder than usual, take comfort in this: Nine out of 10 are, if you're honest. Embrace the cold. Those aren't hamburgers. They're woolly mammoth quarter-pounders.

jlileks@startribune.com • 612-673-7858 More daily at www.startribune.com/popcrush.

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