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Column: Donuts and driving mittens

The winter weather is pressing on in Farmington, and even though I think it should be spring, Mother Nature is not cooperating. I've learned a wonderful antidote to the cold is a steaming cup of coffee and a sweet bar. The Farmington Bakery is one of my favorite places to visit on a grey winter morning. The warmth of fresh cookies baking and the sugary aroma of frosting envelopes you when you swing open the door. I like to ogle the perfectly frosted cakes in the window display, intricately decorated with icing swirls and leaves. Usually the cozy bakery is filled with people dressed for the weather, a melting pot of flannel and polar fleece.

Every time I visit the bakery I leave with a waxed paper bag of donuts and bars in one hand, and a foam cup of coffee in the other. A little sweetness and caffeine does wonders to perk up a dreary day. As the blast of chilly air hits your nostrils when you open the door to leave, your spirits are higher than when you came in.

Even with frequent trips to the bakery, I am still ready for spring to arrive. A lot of Minnesotans say they live here because they love the theater of four seasons. I'll be honest, I wouldn't mind living in a place with just one persistant summer season. I'll take road work over snowstorms any day. On nights when my favorite weatherman, Sven Sundgaard, warns of "flurry activity" during the evening news, I have trouble sleeping. Visions of flurries and traffic jams dance in my head as I toss and turn. When the alarm blares at 5:30 a.m., I leap out of bed, ready to battle the traffic snarled by flurries. I'm not sure why everyone slows to a crawl when a few snowflakes hit the pavement, but I armor up with a travel mug of weak coffee and my heaviest driving mittens.

I know most people drive in gloves, but they just aren't warm enough when you are idling in heavy traffic. I prefer the mittens with a giant flap you can push back to expose your fingers just enough to wrangle the key into the ignition. I buy them in bulk at Fleet Farm.

I know the driving mittens aren't fashionable, especially since they feature a thick leather grip on the palm, but I'll sacrifice fashion for driving safety when I'm out there battling flurries. You never know when some jerk on the freeway is going to try to change lanes into your car, and you'll need that leather palm grip to make a few quick maneuvers with the steering wheel. When you're just trying to make it through the last of a Minnesota winter, your priorities need to be safety first, warmth second and fashion third. There will plenty of time to look good when the weather warms up. In only a couple of months we will be planning picnics and graduations. Then it'll be time to dress up in a cute outfit and pick up brownies or a pretty cake at the Farmington Bakery. Before you know it, spring will be here, and I can tuck away the driving mittens. Until then, though, I'm fortifying with donuts and coffee. Stay safe, and stay warm, and don't forget your driving mittens.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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