Pat Shingleton: "The Coldest and Car-Hopping"
For many years a "cold war" has heated up between International Falls, Minnesota and Fraser, Colorado. Both towns believe their official designation is the “Icebox of the Nation.” International Falls has made the claim for decades that it is the official “Icebox” and added a trademark to the moniker since the 1980s. When the trademark expired in 2009, Fraser pounced. Fraser sits in a mountain valley that often has the nation’s coldest temperature. To promote the “Icebox of the Nation” designation festivals in both cities include frozen turkey bowling, “Icebox Days” and “Blast on the Border.” There are other cities that could claim this honor such as Stanley, Idaho that has posted the most consecutive chilly days since 1995. In recognizing cold weather, in South Louisiana, car-hopping occurred at Hopper's on Florida Boulevard, many years ago, and current car-hopping spots may include various Sonic locations. Car hopping in Western Pennsylvania occurred after a heavy snow and our favorite jump-on spot was Pete Pavlovic's Store. With a half-foot of snow and a layer of ice on Brighton Road, cars would spin up a sharp incline chugging and straining trying to make it up the grade. We would hide behind Pete's store, waiting for the right moment to "hop the cars." The procedure included grasping the rear bumper at the right moment and with the automobile gaining speed we would glide down the road with our boots creating a snow wake. This act met with stern repercussions from Mom. Of all the kids doing the "hopping," Pete would only call Mom to let her know that "her boys" were hopping cars. At school the next day you could recognize others that were "hopping"... A black-and-blue lump and abrasion on the forehead was the tell-tale sign. A few dry spots on the road meant our boots stopped sliding as our heads met either the trunk or the bumper.