When It’s Spring Time in Alaska . . .

By , March 23, 2013

Ever since I can remember, I’ve heard Johnny Horton’s Springtime in Alaska. My parents played his greatest hits record (check your local independent music store) around our house since before I was born. When I left home, I got the CD to play around my house ever after. If you don’t know the song by it’s title, you may well know it by its parenthetical title/refrain/hook line:

“When it’s spring time in Alaska, it’s 40 below.”

This was only ever true of one of my Alaskan homes, Fairbanks, where I was born. None of the other places in the state in which I have lived have ever been that severe.

Even so, that old perrenial chestnut has been a bit more apropos this year.

We may have just come through one of the mildest winters we’ve experienced since moving from Juneau to Haines. We didn’t have a lot of snow; other than several brief periods of cold, our temperatures have been rather moderate for the season.

That all changed right around the Vernal Equinox. We went from low 40s to the teens. Most days that’s been accompanied by equinotial storms, which we’ve come to expect. The combination has made for some impressive wind chills, and reasonable excuses to stay home and close to the woodstove. All of a sudden, all the quirks and inconveniences of a typical winter surround us, just as the first sure signs of spring begin to appear.

I’m a bit heartened to see that there’s some rain in the forecast for later this week. We’ll see if that happens or not. In the meantime, let’s cue up that Johnny Horton song again for another listen, while I set the kettle on for another hot drink . . . .

6 Responses to “When It’s Spring Time in Alaska . . .”

  1. Linn Hartman says:

    Old man winter won’t give up. We have 3″ of snow on the ground and low 30’s. fog – keep eating up the propane. Neighbors strawberry business may take a hit this year. Should be picking and selling by early May. Only good thing is I am not at an auction today spending money. Too cold.

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Could be worse. News says 12 people were killed by hail in China recently!

  3. Russ says:

    Hey Mark, I played that song on Backcountry the other day! It did seem more appropriate than usual. The only place I’ve ever encountered 40 below was NW Ontario, but that was the dead of winter…

  4. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Russ,

    I forgot! Now that you’re back, I’ll have to start listening to the radio more again.

    The family story is that we hit the -60s in Fairbanks the winter I was born. That’s my memory, I should look it up again.

    Mark

  5. Judy says:

    Anything that Johnny Horton sang, was great, in my opinion. As a member of one of those long-forgotten Record Clubs of the 60s and 70s, I chose an album by Horton that included “Springtime in Alaska” and played it often in my single days living in Greater Kansas City. I have been fortunate to have visited Alaska twice in my lifetime in mild weather. (Yes, I still have all my Record Club albums.)

  6. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Judy, this made me laugh–when I was migrating to my new computer, I cleared out a couple of bookmarks to BMG, which was the last incarnation of the old RCA Record Club. They disappeared almost 10 years ago, but I was still keeping that bookmark. Those were the days, weren’t they? Waiting forever (6-8 weeks) for your albums to arrive in the mail. I remember it well.

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