THE NEWS FROM TOK, ALASKA

(01/12/2009)

TOK, ALASKA (not a mythical place) "Where all the women have a little rheumatism, all the men are pretty ugly, and all the children are C-plus,"

It got a little colder than usual this past week in Tok, with the temperature dropping to -60.

"It's too cold to go anywhere with your own vehicles," said Eric Weaver, although once this week we got the super-heated Tok taxi to take us to town and the store."

Tires flatten out when parked. "At this temperature, they don't round back out when you go down the highway," he said.

He said the village was almost vacant. Weaver and his family of six live about five miles out.

"We made our rounds, and got some groceries," he said, including the "common purchase of rotting fruit."

"We're used to that here. They put the rotting part on the bottom so you can't see it very well. But we're a long way from the fresh fruit."

In the lower 48 you'd take it back, but we make do in Tok."

Weaver said "Calhoun kids wouldn't like the school system here. They never close school because of the weather."

Freezing moisture in the air is causing a dense fog-like condition at -60 degrees, with visibility just a few feet.

"We're having problems with our wood stoves drafting, causing smoke to come in the house. It happens when it gets this cold. If you keep the stove super-heated it works pretty well."

The Weaver household has over two inches of ice inside in some places. "I have plastic nailed over my thermal-pane windows and have thick wool army blankets nailed over my doors," he said.

Frost and ice has formed around doors, windows and cracks

Weaver remembers winters in Calhoun at Hur. The farm pond would freeze, and all the kids gathered, playing on the ice.

"I have no special knowledge of global warming or even if it exists. However, when I see the temperature at +70 in the winter in Calhoun, I am curious," he said.

"I think back to my days in West Virginia, sitting by the radio at 5 a.m., listening and praying for school closings. With every flake my anticipation and hope mounted."

"They first teased us by announcing bus delays. I know the sadistic education department knew they had a few hundred kids sitting by the radio about to burst. Then the news would come. I would scream. NO SCHOOL!"

"I am saddened by the lack of snow and winter fun in West Virginia. So I became addicted to Alaska. I am now in the coldest inhabited town in North America, which has reached temperatures of -70 degrees below."

It is so cold outside that smoke gives up and falls back to the ground as if to say "I ain't going nowhere in this".

"I agree with the smoke. I ain't going nowhere."

"Now here I am in weather too cold to breathe. Cars won't run. Stuck in the tundra and you know what...It's the education systems fault."

"The snow days made me nuts."

The good news from Tok - it's warming up to -35 degrees.


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