January 16, 2016

SLICE Article


Winter has arrived on the Palouse.  And there is one loud happy voice at our home shouting, “Finally! Hurray!” That voice comes not from me, who is ever-so-content to be inside sipping tea and enjoying book after book after book as the temperatures plummet and the snow falls. Instead, that voice comes from my better half who would be thrilled to live where the average temperature never exceeds zero degrees Fahrenheit. He loves the cold, the ice, the snow, the “whole winter experience” as he passionately refers to this most chilly season. 

Right now he’s out and about doing one of his favorite winter activities – ice fishing.  He honed his skills during the years we lived in Minnesota, where ice fishing isn’t a sport, it’s a religion.  And like most religions, it has its own beliefs, language and rituals.  The first belief is that fishing is a year-round sport, and that of course, includes winter.  The second belief involves the need to not listen to your fish-loving heart and instead, put your trust in having enough inches of frozen water beneath your feet. True tales are told of those who went with their hearts, rather than depth of ice. The arctic ending for these folks was not a happily-ever-after one.

The language of ice fishing is colorful and full of jargon that includes: hard water, soft water, Swedish pimple, snot rocket, spud bar, marking a fish, pop-ups, flip-overs and clam traps, to name a few.  And don’t get me started on the rituals of ice fishing.  There is neither space nor time to even begin down that frigid path!

Thankfully, my man is a careful guy.  He’s adamant about ice safety, for which I’m most grateful.  His safety is tied to his belief in the rule of three. There has to be at least three inches of solid ice before he’ll bundle up, grab his spud bar, set up his flip-over and drill some holes to catch some snot rockets (i.e., trout).  A happy man, indeed!

About now you may be wondering what in the world does all of this have to do with the library.  Quite frankly, everything! If you are an ice fishing guru or wanna-be, we have some great materials for you in both our adult and children’s departments.  And then, if you’re like me and would rather have a root canal than go ice fishing, no worries!  The library is teeming with information, resources and yes, staff to help you learn, be entertained and grow, no matter your interest, need or passion. 

So, what’s on your agenda for this 2016? Gardening, golfing, baking artisan breads, elk hunting, painting, writing, photography, travel, downloading books, building a treehouse, learning a new language, brushing up your parenting skills, keeping up with current events or attending a cultural program?  No matter.  We have what you need and if we don’t, we’ll work hard to get it for you.

So, with a salute to my auger-carrying man and everyone else who has passions waiting to be nurtured and explored, the library is here for you.  To each his (or her) own.  Happy New Year!
Kathleen Ahern
Children's Librarian


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