Used to be a saying amongst ranchers in the Texas Panhandle. “Nothing between us and the North Pole ‘cept a bob-wire fence.” (Texas ranchers never say “barbed”-wire).
Well, on a zero-degree day in, say, Nebraska, folks in that state might beg to differ with ranchers in this state. Of course, no one here denies that it generally gets colder up north, but today I was frozen in Fort Worth, Texas. As Texas writer Larry McMurtry puts it, “I am sure there are potatoes in Nebraska, but Nebraska is not my rooting ground.”
Actually, cold as it was, today was not as bad as we thought it would be. Sleet started early this morning, and the temp dropped to 16 F (-8.89 C). Roads iced over. Schools and government offices closed, but many businesses stayed open. The precipitation ended by noon. Early afternoon, the sun came out, the clouds went away, the temperature rose to 24 F (-4.44 C), and most of the ice disappeared from the roads. By late afernoon, traffic was almost back to normal. Right now (9:00 p.m.), the temp is 22 F (-5.55 C). Tomorrow, we are expecting sunshine with a high of 38 F (3.33 C). Back to work!
Anyway, all this cold reminds me that in the Texas Panhandle, 77 miles south of Lubbock, there was a town called Polar. Nowadays, there is almost nothing left of the town, except a cemetery, a few mail boxes by the side of the road and the crumbling remains of an old community center. The odd thing about the town Polar is that it was not named for the weather (at least not directly), but for a little girl. The girl was Polar Singletary, daughter of county commissionary A. H. Singletary. I suppose someone must know why Mr. and Mrs. Singletary burdened their baby girl with the name Polar. Myself, I do not know the reason. And in the absence of a better reason, my guess will have to do.
Miss Polar Singletary was probably born in the 1880s, a time when English, Italian and American explorers were gradually pushing to the North Pole. Perhaps her parents had high hopes that their daughter would someday do as good as any man and make it to the North Pole. Or, perhaps on the day when Polar was born, the Panhandle was experiencing a “blue norther” like the one that blew through North Texas last week and today. Mr. and Mrs. Singletary noted that “there’s nothing betwen us and the North Pole…” and they named the baby Polar.
Do you know the real story? Send it!