November has arrived, and winter has moved in with us Northlanders like a loutish brother-in-law who came for a weekend and stayed for six months.      
We suddenly find ourselves dealing with matters concerning antifreeze, blended fuel and tire chains. We are again posing such weighty questions as, “Is it positive to positive and negative to negative or the other way around?”      
Our light and airy warm-weather footwear has been stowed in the hall closet. We are now lumbering around in cumbersome winter boots that are so large their footprints appear to have been made by a sasquatch. The boots are so heavy that they cause our legs to become musclebound and give us Northerners that characteristic thick-legged look so many of us find so attractive, which may explain the bump in the number of babies that arrive about nine months after the first blast of winter.      
November has a way of injecting reality into our lives. It reminds us that winter is a brutal season that has no qualms about thinning the herd with cold-hearted Darwinian efficiency.      
This reminds me of a November many years ago when winter came early and stayed late.      
I was working as a hired hand on an area dairy farm. When Saturday night rolled around, I decided to use my allotted one night per fortnight off from my job to do some of what the boss referred to as tomcatting. I preferred the more urbane-sounding term, nightclubbing.
Regardless of the designation, my objective was the same, namely, to meet and perhaps dance with members of the female persuasion. I had even been practicing my John Travolta-like moves as I brought the Holsteins up to the milking parlor.      
A winter storm was predicted, but in that pre-Doppler radar era, there was grea uncertainty regarding how much snow we might get or when it would arrive. Not that possessing this knowledge would have stopped me. What 18-year-old guy doesn’t think of himself as bulletproof?      
I was shocked when I emerged from the steamy, man-made thunder and lightning of the disco. During the several hours that I had been shake, shake, shaking my booty, a spell had been cast upon the land, transforming it from benign autumn to swirling, snow-choked winter. I decided to get my booty home as soon as possible.     
It didn’t look too bad in town. Yes, it was snowing, but I could see nearly a block. I pointed my 1968 Impala Super Sport onto the country highway that led home.      
Out in the open, it was a different situation. The wind and snow cut the visibility to the point where I could barely see the end of the car’s hood, and that’s when conditions were at their best. Complicating matters were the growing snowdrifts that grabbed at the wheels of my Impala like giant, gooey marshmallows.      
I coasted to a stop and weighed my options. Pressing on meant possibly getting home or, more likely it seemed, getting stuck in a snowdrift.   With the witch of November screeching and clawing at my car, I decided my best chance for survival involved turning back. But first, I had to find a place to turn around.      
I slowly nudged the Impala forward, searching for an approach or an intersection. Then, I saw a pair of red reflectors. Reflectors that belonged to a battered old Datsun pickup.
I stopped behind the Datsun, stepped out into the maelstrom, fought my way to the pickup and knocked on its window. The 30-something male driver rolled down the window and slurred, “Hey pal, thanksh for stopping. My truck’s stuck an’ now the stupid thing died.”      
The guy and the woman he was with were both drunk. I told them I was headed back to town and would gladly give them a lift.
During the arduous journey into town, the guy yammered on and on about how great his pickup had been up until now, totally oblivious of the fact he had just missed out on a new career as a human ice pop. His wife sat silently between us, staring straight ahead in an alcohol-induced stupor.      
I stopped at the first motel we happened upon. We went inside, and I plunked down a couple of days’ wages for the privilege of sleeping in a warm bed until morning. As I left the lobby, the drunk guy was alternatively haggling and flirting with the female night clerk. He didn’t notice when his wife stumbled outside, bent over behind my Impala and called out repeatedly for some guy named Ralph.
And I shook my head, wondering if I should have simply let winter have its way.
    Jerry is a recovering dairy farmer from Volga, South Dakota. He and his wife, Julie, have two grown sons and live on the farm where Jerry’s great-grandfather homesteaded over 110 years ago. Jerry works full time for Dairy Star as a staff writer and ad salesman. Feel free to email him at [email protected]