Summer for Winter, Fabled Riffraff and the Chaotic Psychology of Kitchen Calendar Imagery

Got a bone to pick with you calendar-making types.

Just what in the frozen-over hell would make you think someone would want to look at pictures of ice and snow in the frozen-over hell of January and February? Up here in the Upper Midwest or Upper Great Plains during these unrelenting months, that just brings on another miserable shiver every time we look at our day trackers.

You’ve got it backwards.

Come January or February, when it’s tongue-stuck-to-flagpole, spit-freezin’-before-hittin’-the-ground, takes-an-hour-to-get-ready-to-go cold, when I glance at the calendar on the kitchen wall I want the three S’s – sand, surf and sun, baby! 

February 2022 calendar

The powers that be need to add an hour to every day for those of us in frigid climes to make up for all the time we spend layering up and pulling off sweaters, neck warmers, ridiculous hats and heavy coats every time we need to go out.

Seems only fair.

Photo by Alessio Sogetti via Unsplash

Close my eyes and imagine myself in the scene, feel the sun’s warmth on my face and stare at the orangish-red glow on the undersides of my eyelids. 

Not that I’m licking any flagpoles – that would be plain stupid – but still.

What’re you giving me, instead? The ISM’s, that’s what. Ice, snow and misery. I get a new bone-chilling with every glance the calendar’s way. Damn.

In fact, go ahead and flip the whole flippin’ calendar. 

Show me the ISM’s in July and August, when it’s so hot you can fry eggs on the sidewalk, spit dries before you glance down and the dogs won’t coax from under the porch. 

Well, not the M’s, maybe, but definitely the I’s and S’s. 

Close my eyes and imagine myself in the cool blue scene, sense the refreshing caress of the breeze, thrill at the phantom icy drips down the back of my coat and marvel at the yellowish glow of the frozen sun on the undersides of my eyelids.

We see enough of the ISM’s every doggone day of January and February out the window over the kitchen sink, not to mention for miles and miles out on the highway. 

And cold? Damn right it gets cold. Freakin’ frigid.

Do YOU think it matters that it’s a dry cold? Yeah, me neither.

Either way, it’s a cold most folks cannot even grasp. 


Zooming recently with some folks in Raleigh, N.C. They’d had an inch or two of snow over the weekend – unusual for North Carolina, granted – and it was 42° F. All the schools were closed. Took a snow day. 

We’d had 3-4 inches over the weekend, ourselves, the air temp was in the single digits and the windchill was at -25° or lower. And that’s not even close to how bad it can get.

My kids didn’t even bother asking whether there was school that day. Probably didn’t even cross their minds.

Of course there was school that day. Up here, why wouldn’t there be?

To be fair, most people and municipalities simply are not equipped to deal with ice, snow and arctic temps like we are; they have to shut down. 

Screenshot of frigid temperature in Fargo, ND, 2-3-22
This morning’s readings

So… what? We’re lucky?



Well, maybe. 

Hardheaded, mostly.

Each of us has a choice to settle up here or skedaddle, hit the brittle bricks in search of a better winter life. Nobody’s got a gun to our head, the old saying goes. We’ve waived any right to frosty bitchin’ and moanin’ we might otherwise have reasonably claimed.

“Keeps the riffraff out,” another old saying goes. Good thing, too. We already have enough homegrown, blood-red, anti-vaxxing, science-denying riffers and raffers up this way. Don’t need any more.

There is one good thing about ISM’s on the ground and the calendar in the frozen-over hell of January and February, though. Gives us something to talk about. Up here, weather isn’t just small talk or boredom talking; we bring it up because, first, it’s serious business, and number two there isn’t much else to discuss.

Except politics. (Speaking of number two.)

But… well… that’s just not done. Against the rules, as they say. 

Besides, as far as politics goes, we’ve been wearing masks this time o’ year all along, not for COVID but to keep the frostbite off our noses and cheeks. So there.

I mean, do you even OWN a pair a’ long johns? 

Whatever. Just swap out those photos, will ya? 

Summer in winter, fall in spring, winter in summer and spring in fall – whatever we long for but can’t have, no matter what month it is…

Uhh… Wait.

Wait just an doors-frozen-shut minute – 

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Martin C. Fredricks IV

Martin C. “Red” Fredricks IV here. I’m husband to an amazing woman who is also my best friend, dad to three outstanding kids, Fargoan (North Dakota, that is), proud introvert, veteran messaging strategist/copywriter, blogger ( nonprofit founder ( and big-time reader. As they say, if you're gonna write good stuff, you have to read good stuff. A ginger, too - ergo the "Red" - although some of it's going white. Cinnamon-Sugar, I call it. Tattooed to boot; seven so far. At age 54, I'm stilling crankin' AC/DC & Metallica, but now and again I spin some Eric Church and Black Uhuru, too. I love hanging out with my (much) better half, spending time with our kids, writing, hiking, riding my mountain bike and reading.


Olivia · February 4, 2022 at 1:19 pm

Thank you for sharing!

    Martin C. Fredricks IV · February 4, 2022 at 1:49 pm

    Thank you for reading!

Amanda · February 4, 2022 at 5:49 am

Goodness. I had little idea of the depths of the cold over there. Scandinavia would be way warmer! But here I am in Australia and can provide you with all the sun filled February pics that your heart desires. In fact, I will send some of our icecream melting, acne inducing sunburn making heat itself over your way if you like? Will airmail do? Lol.

    Martin C. Fredricks IV · February 4, 2022 at 9:05 am

    Baaaahahahahahahahaaaaa… 🙂 Yes, I’m pretty sure airmail will work. Let’s give it a shot.

b.f. · February 3, 2022 at 6:39 pm

Well …
On the other hand, they could picture things besides outdoor scenes. I’m not sure i want to see warm summer vistas when i have to go out to shovel snow. Sorta like having it rubbed in my face that i’m going to be chilled, not warm.
Can’t say i spend much time in summer months looking at the calendar when i’m going to step outside and enjoy whatever i find.
We may have to get you a better choice of calendars?

    Martin C. Fredricks IV · February 4, 2022 at 9:02 am

    Hahahahahahaaaa! 🙂

Let me know what you think!

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