Once the kids are grown and gone, my wife and I already have plans to ditch our middle-class, suburban lifestyle for one that features a lot more mobility. It's a big world; I'd like to see a lot more of it when I've got the time.
I can say right now, however, that without a doubt two places I will never, ever go are Fraser, Colorado and International Falls, Minnesota.
It's not that I have anything against Colorado or Minnesota or that my future plans don't include travelling through the US. But, I'll be damned if I'm going to spend my time in two towns that are vying for the title of "Icebox of the Nation."
Seriously, how boring can two towns be if the only claim to fame they can envision is being really cold? I could see fighting over being the "Sunshine Spot of the Nation" or the "Nation's Beach" or even, maybe, the driest or rainiest places.
Cold sucks. I spent 15 years in a place where it routinely reached zero fahrenheit or lower in the winter and often socked us with snowstorms, ice pellets and howling winds. There is nothing redeeming about it whatsoever. There is no glory or valour in living in Arctic conditions. You freeze, your skin dries out, every breath outdoors is a chore, cars slide around - providing they start at all.
One of the great moments of my life was when I finally convinced my wife to move to BC (home for me but foreign for her) and we stepped off a plane on Nov. 27. It was 55 here and 20 and snowing in Ontario and she looked at me and said, "I'm never going back."
Even in the Dark Ages people had cold figured out. After all, Greenland was an early attempt at con job real estate marketing.
International Falls currently holds the moniker but only because they paid Fraser $2,000 for the right to the name in 1956. They were supposed to renew their right in 1996 but forgot (maybe the cold froze their brains). Now Fraser wants the name back.
If I were International Falls, I'd give it to them. Change your own town slogan to, "Not the Dumbest Town in America...Anymore".