When Winter Punches Spring In The Face

March 7, 2011

Minnesota snowEver hear of Butter Week? I hadn’t until Sunday, when my wife’s family hosted a celebration marking this ancient pagan holiday.

Butter Week (or Pancake Week) is a Slavic tradition heralding the imminent arrival of spring. Or, as my sister-in-law informed me, it’s when “Winter and Spring shake hands.”

As we were gorging on vareniki, pancakes and borscht, the snow started coming down. Someone chimed in that it looked more like “Winter was punching Spring in the face.”

And so it goes in this interminable winter. A few more inches messed up our commutes this morning … and we’re looking at a few more inches this week.

How bad is it this year? Here are the snowiest seasons in Twin Cities history, according to the National Weather Service.

1983-1984: 98.6 inches

1981-1982: 95 inches

1950-1951: 88.9 inches

1916-1917: 84.9 inches

1991-1992: 84.1 inches

1961-1962: 81.3 inches

1951-1952: 79.0 inches

2010-2011: 78.7 inches

1966-1967: 78.4 inches

2000-2001: 75.8 inches

I endured those No. 1 and No. 2 winters during my formative teen years, which explains why I tend to think winters were worse “back when I was a kid.”

Now my son, pictured above on the huge snowbank outside our house in St. Paul, can craft his own Minnesota winter war stories.