Pat Shingleton: "Icicles and the Paperboy..."
Years ago, J.A. Sotile of White Castle questioned a winter item no longer experienced. “Dear Pat: What happened to icicles? Years ago (they) were seen on houses, trees….” Icicles appear in the shape of a narrow cone, hanging point downward from a roof, fence, cliff side or television tower. Their sizes range from finger length to three feet in diameter and 25 feet long. They form when liquid water from a sheltered or heated source comes in contact with below-freezing air and freezes as rapidly as it flows. The timing of freezing liquid during the drip creates the icicle. Back then, J.A. noted that in recent years we haven’t had any. We need rain with rapidly falling temperatures but then we’ll also have roadways with icicles. Another cold note...Previous columns explained efforts to stay warm with the use of a coal furnace. Homes built in the 1900s had limited insulation. Even though the coal furnace was stoked for the overnight it did not provide adequate heat when the temperature dipped to -5 at daybreak. Sometimes, beds were kept warm with a brick, heated near the fireplace and wrapped in a towel while some used a traditional “bed warmer.” This device looked like a giant skillet with a long handle and lid. Coals, placed in the container, warmed the bed by repeatedly sliding the pan between the sheets and the outer blankets. As an early-morning paperboy, it wasn’t unusual to “hit-the-sack,” fully dressed, to avoid the morning chill at 6:00 AM.