It looks like it’s going to be one of those winters.  
It’s the type of winter when divorce lawyers do a booming business as widespread domestic discord erupts after one party accuses the other of hogging all the blankets. The kind of season when you might see dogs frozen to fire hydrants and tow truck operators pay for their Florida condo in just a few days’ time. A winter so cold that a guy might be tempted to climb into his freezer to warm up.      
It’s the sort of winter where my wife asks (almost daily) why we don’t live somewhere closer to the equator, such as Hawaii, instead of here in the shadow of the North Pole.      
I tell her this kind of weather keeps out the riffraff.      
Think about it. Have you ever heard of vandals chucking rocks from an overpass when the windchill is 50 degrees below zero? How can there be any drive-by shootings when rolling down your car window can result in instant frostbite?      
On the plus side, if you want to experience the joys of a frozen food headache, all you have to do is take off your cap and walk against the wind.
I understand there’s an exclusive group in Antarctica called The 300 Club. It seems that during one particularly nasty austral winter, some bored scientists at a remote research station got a great idea. There must have been large quantities of vodka involved because the idea went like this: Let’s wait until it’s really cold outside (our Midwestern winters are scorching compared to those in Antarctica) and go into the sauna. We’ll crank its thermostat up to parboil and take off all our clothes. 
Now comes the fun part. When we get nice and hot, we’ll go outside wearing nothing but our mukluks and have our picture taken next to the South Pole marker. You are now in the club, but only if the temperature difference between the sauna and the outdoors is at least 300 degrees Fahrenheit.      
Just thinking about it makes me want to dive under an electric blanket that’s been set to toaster oven.       
When I was young and starting out as a dairy farmer, we had a winter that was so cold and nasty it makes our current one seem like a balmy June afternoon.      
My loader tractor at the time was a 1944 Farmall M. This meant I was dealing with World War II-era technology, and the tractor had no cab. The old M was all that stood between my cattle and starvation.      
Daily I sat on the frozen seat of the M, whispering prayers and muttering imprecations as its starter growled and moaned. Daily its engine would tease me with tentative coughs and sputters as each cylinder voted on whether or not it would fire. And daily, after the engine caught, I would rejoice for my cows would get to eat, and I could resume my battle with the glacier-like snowdrift that was taking over my driveway.      
One morning it appeared as though the old M would let me down. The weather had turned beastly cold, and there was an icy wind blasting out of the northwest. The windchill sank perilously close to triple digits below zero.      
To say I dressed warmly that day would be an understatement. I put on almost every article of clothing I owned. I wore my thermal underwear, three pairs of socks, two pairs of jeans, and my bulletproof insulated coveralls. As I looked out the window of my farmhouse, I felt like an Arctic explorer who was considering a life-or-death trek across the desolate tundra.      
After fortifying myself with several cups of strong coffee, I ventured forth to start the M. I used every trick I knew to coax the old girl to life. I poured hot water over her carburetor; I hooked the charger to her battery and set it for 12 volts instead of six; I even gave her ether, the magic elixir purported to have the power to resurrect even the deadest of dead engines. All of these efforts were for naught.      
I stood beside the old M – frustration coursing through my veins, coffee racing through my kidneys – and was seized by the sudden and inexorable urge to answer the call of nature.      
As my numb fingers fumbled with the multitude of buttons and zippers, an old childhood memory echoed through my brain.
“Are you sure you don’t need to go potty?” Mom asked as she zipped me into my little snowsuit. “Because getting you out of all these clothes will take half an hour.” 
 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 currently works full time for the Dairy Star as a staff writer/ad salesman. Feel free to E-mail him at: jerry.n@dairystar.com.