Funny Minnesota Christmas Story

What's it like to make that move north for Christmas and the months that follow? From Florida to Minnesota? Christmas in Florida or Christmas in Minnesota? Winter in Florida or winter in Minnesota? A bit different. Sunshine. Clouds. Rain. Snow. Heat. Cold. Umbrella. Knit hat and Parka. Garden spade. Snow shovel.

Winter in Minnesota or Florida?

Dear Diary:

I know it must seem strange for a grown man to be writing in a diary, but this is going to be such a wonderful experience.

We are moving back to Minnesota from Florida. We both have missed the four seasons, especially the winter with it's beautiful snow. I remember my Grandpa helping me build a snowman and am anxiously waiting to do the same for Andy and Sally.

Dec. 6 - We arrived yesterday! Just 60 miles south of the Canadian line. We have a little log cabin near the edge of town. The trees are bare and the Cardinals and Blue Jays are settling down in their nests in the fir trees.

Dec. 18 - It finally started to snow. Katy and I sat in front of the picture window with our hot chocolate watching as the soft flakes of snow drift down, clinging to the trees and covering the ground. It was beautiful.

Dec. 19 - We awoke to a big, beautiful blanket of crystal white snow covering the landscape. What a fantastic sight! Just like a fairyland. Every tree and shrub covered by a beautiful mantle of snow. Again, what a fantastic sight! I shoveled snow for the first time in years and loved it. I did both the driveway and sidewalks. Later a snow plow came through and accidentally covered up our driveway and the sidewalk with compacted snow from the street. But that is alright, I love shoveling the snow. What great exercise.

boy throwing snowballs

Dec. 20 - We will definitely have a white Christmas. It snowed an additional 14 inches last night and the temperature has dropped to around 11 degrees. Several limbs and scrubs have snapped due to the weight of the snow. I shoveled our driveway again. Shortly afterward, the man in the snowplow came by and did his trick again.

Dec. 21 - It warmed enough during the day to create some slush which soon became ice as the temperature dropped again. I fell and hurt my back in the driveway, spent $145.00 at a chiropractor's office but nothing was broken.

Dec. 25 - Son, John, with his wife, Barbara, and the kids, Andy and Sally, will be here today, so I guess I will have to just watch them build the snowman. Maybe I can get John to go over the sidewalks again. We had 6 more inches of snow last night.

Dec. 26 - It was a marvelous Christmas. Sally made such wonderful snow angels. Andy said he would wait for the snowman till I was feeling better. The temperature dropped to 20 below zero during the night.

Dec. 29 - Still cold. I sold the wife's car and bought a 4x4 in order to get her to and from work.

Jan. 10 - It has warmed up now. It is only 2 degrees outside. More snow. There's not a tree or scrub on our property that hasn't been damaged. Power was off most of the night. We tried to keep from freezing to death with candles and a kerosene heater, which tipped over and nearly burned the house down. I managed to put the flames out, but suffered 2nd degree burns on both hands and lost all my eyelashes and eyebrows. Car slid on ice, on the way to the emergency room, and was totaled.

Jan. 14 - More snow, more shoveling, and again the snowplow came after I had finished. I think he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish.

Jan. 23 - Guess who got 29 plus more inches last night? I think I am going snow blind, all I see is snow, snow and more snow!

Jan. 26 - That white stuff keeps coming down. We have to put on all the clothes we own just to go to the mailbox. If I catch that smart-Alec driving the snowplow, I'll chew open his chest and rip open his heart. Power is off again. The toilet froze and part of the roof has started to cave in.

Feb. 3 - Six more inches of sleet and ice and God knows what other kind of white stuff fell last night. It is sooo cold I can't move my toes. Haven't seen the sun for weeks. More snow predicted. Wind-chill -2 degrees.

Feb. 5 - Three more months of winter to go. I set fire to the house, now let's see that white stuff cling to the roof!! I'm moving back to Florida.

Billy Gates writes to Santa

Dear Santa,

How are you doing? I hope you've had a successful year and have come up with a lot of interesting toys. It's really neat how you're able to do that year after year. I guess that's how you stay number one in the Christmas presents business business.

Actually, I admire the way you run Christmas. You really have a handle on it. You find out what people want (with letters like this and having kids tell you in person), and then you make the presents and control how they are delivered. It's an impressive operation.

I also like how you've got it to where when somebody says "Christmas presents," people automatically think Santa Claus. What a marketing advantage. Best of all, even though you're a huge success, people still don't know much about your private life. It's just rumors. That's so neat.

santa with bag of toys

I think being at the North Pole helps. That was a good move. For example, when you're designing toys, only your elves know what you're doing, and you're way up there where nobody can spy on you and steal your ideas. And even if they do, you can always just let it out that you're making the same stuff to bring to people for free, so why would they buy the other guy's stuff?

Also, other people who make Christmas presents can't deliver them like you can. Yours is the only sleigh on the distribution highway. You must get some great discounts from them, because if they don't play ball you can just refuse to give out their presents. Very Sharp.

What I don't get is why you give away stuff. That's the dumbest idea I've ever heard. I admit, its why you're number one. Who could compete with a deal like that? But it must make it hard to stay in business, especially when you have to visit every kid in the world. You have to keep growing or fail.

Here's an idea on how you can help finance your operation: Give everybody at least one present at Christmas, then you could make batteries and sell them the rest of the year. It would create a demand: You give people something and then sell them what they need to make it work.

Another thing, about you coming down the chimney. That's so slow and inefficient. And what about all the people who don't have chimneys? Santa. I have one word for you--windows. Everybody has windows.

That's about all I have to say. You're probably wondering if I was good or bad this year, but I don't really like to talk about my personal life, if that's O.K. (Just out of curiosity: When you were a boy, did any of the other kids call you a nerd?) Anyway, I don't really have anything to ask for. Mostly I think up something to play with and then build it myself. I guess I'm sort of like you--I make my own toys.

Best of luck,

Billy Gates

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