It Doesn’t Really Snow in Wisconsin

Did I spark your interest?

As I write this, we are getting an awesome snowfall here in Tennessee.  Right now we are at the 4.5″ mark.  That’s a big deal down here in Dixie.  Many businesses and all of the local school districts were closed today and will be closed again tomorrow.

This isn’t Wisconsin.

It actually does snow in Wisconsin.  In fact, it snows a lot more there.  I would know.  My first nineteen years were spent about ninety minutes south of “the frozen tundra” of Lambeau Field.

But Cascade, WI wasn’t the snowiest place I have lived.  Let me tell you the story.

After completing basic training in the US Army early in 1985, I went to Ft. Devens, MA for my “advanced individual training” (AIT).  I was studying to be an 05H Morse Code Intercept Operator.  First we had to learn Morse code.  Then we had to be able to copy it at reflex speed.  After mastering that aspect of the program, we learned about how and why we were going to do what we signed up to do (that’s where the top secret clearance came into play).  Just prior to graduation, I was told to report to a classroom where I would learn about my first duty assignment.

Where would I go?  Would I remain stateside?  Would I head to Europe?

I went forward and received my orders.  I sat down and studied the paper.

Misawa, Japan.

Japan!  How exotic!  Japan!  Tropics!  Palm trees!  Beaches!


As soon as it was possible, I called my Dad.  He wanted to know, and I knew he could tell me a bit about Japan.  And, he did.  But I was completely unprepared for the news he had to share.  After I admitted my excitement to be headed to a tropical location, Dad asked me for the longitude and latitude lines.  When I shared that specific information, he began to chuckle.  Much to his delight he informed me that I wasn’t actually headed to the Japanese version of Hawaii.  I was going to be living in what was equivalent to NORTHERN MINNESOTA.

Yes, I said Northern Minnesota.

I thought I had seen snow in Wisconsin.  Misawa, Japan taught me the true definition of “winter”!  The occasional blizzards I experienced as a child were regular events in northeast Japan.  It wasn’t uncommon to see FEET of snow on roofs of businesses and homes.  It didn’t surprise us to find a fresh FOOT of snow after a night of  sleep.

I survived two Misawa winters.  The tender winters to follow in Tennessee, Florida and Nevada were much easier to endure.  But days like today remind me that a fresh snowfall is a bit magical, especially as viewed through the eyes of children.  I like snow, but I love when it snows because my children have so much fun.  The monsters are finally in bed.  I know they’re excited about the morning.  Hours of sledding await.  I expect to see a snowman created.  I’ll even try to bait them into making face down snow angels.  A morning for making memories!

Tennessee isn’t Wisconsin, and it sure isn’t Misawa, Japan, but tonight we find ourselves in a winter wonderland.

Sometimes life can be pleasant (even if a bit cold and wet).


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