A month or so ago, acting on a suggestion from a kind woman named Lois, I agreed to sponsor a “Name the North Wind” contest in honor of one of the fiercest beasts ever to invade Yolo County.
I remember as a kid having to ride my bike directly into the teeth of the Northern Menace in order to arrive in time for class at the newly opened West Davis Elementary School.
Since the school was built on the northern edge of town, nearly everyone was riding against the wind on those bitterly cold winter mornings.
Now, I’m not going to tell you the ride was uphill both ways, but it felt that way. You see, the north wind always blows hardest in the early morning, then tends to peter out in the afternoon and is pretty much non-existent by the time the final bell rings at the end of the school day.
Thus, while we fought mightily against the wind on our way to school, we didn’t get the pleasure of the wind at our back on the way home. Put simply, Mother Nature dealt us a raw hand each and every time the north wind blew.
Well, the reaction to the Name the North Wind contest was swift and certain. And not especially kind.
One schoolteacher, noting that the two hardest days to control young kids are the day after Halloween and any day the north wind blows, called it The Wind From Hell. And that was one of the milder entries.
In fact, given that this is a family newspaper, it’s probably best to take young children from the room before we go any further.
Also, best to heed the warning from Joel that, this being Davis and all, we “can only name the wind after a dead person.” Sound advice.
Janet from Zamora, where the north wind may actually originate, used a seven-letter word beginning with the sixth letter of the alphabet and ending in “ing” to describe the north wind. A half dozen others followed suit.
John at dcn.org suggested “Demonic Wind” because, after all, it “blows from Woodland.”
Eric writes that he “votes for Evil Wind or The Evils. The Evils bring a ton of dust and it always sets me on edge; not quite on edge the way Raymond Chandler described the Santa Ana winds, but practically as bad.”
Trust me, Eric, I’ve experienced both, and the best Santa Ana has nothing on us.
Greg at cal.net says “The North Wind brings headaches, plugged noses, leaves from far down the street, scratchy eyes, foul dispositions and not one good thing for anyone to ever say about it. I have lived in the area around Davis and Woodland for almost 70 years and never once have I ever heard anything good about the North Wind.”
Greg then follows the leader and again suggests that seven-letter word beginning with the sixth letter of the alphabet and ending in “ing.”
“Good luck trying to change it to something cute,” Greg offers. Thanks, Greg, but I don’t think “cute” is going to win this contest.
David suggests “Blow Hard Wind,” Dale comes up with the classy “Shasta Blaster” and Ron adds “I thought it was already named the Arctic Express.”
And then along comes Adrienne to put an end to this contest once and for all with the incredibly direct “Wicked Bitch of the North.”
When I ran that one by Lois, who suggested this contest in the first place, she admitted that Adrienne’s entry was “very, very good,” but wondered if I’d be able to slide it past my “great editor.”
Good question, Lois. If Adrienne’s five-word submission appears in this space, you’ll know the censors had the day off.
And if they don’t appear here, no one will know the difference, save for the Above-Pictured Columnist and his great editor.
Me, I’m betting these five words live to see the light of day. Accuracy, after all, is a fundamental of journalism.
— Reach Bob Dunning at firstname.lastname@example.org