About hypothermia

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A classic George Ostrom column, from August, 1989...

It is 15 minutes after midnight Tuesday as I sit down to write this week’s column. I am shaking and quivering from hypothermia and I have serious words of wisdom for all men of the world. If your son comes in the house and tells you the northern lights are putting on a “fantastic display,” do not run outside in your skivvies.

No one should suffer what I have during the last hour. Glorious and awesome as the aurora borealis may be, it is certainly not something worth catching your death of pneumonia over, or risking a hard-earned reputation for leading a life free from sin. I guess the worst part was crouching there behind the fence, shivering in the dark so I wouldn’t have to explain anything to Iris and that woman who drove her home from the movie, at the just the wrong time.

Looking back, I probably should never have let them drive in and park between me and the door, but I was afraid of streaking though the headlights. Once they did, then son Shannon should have done something to get them around to the other side of the house to watch those “beautiful green and white lights coming up from over there.” If he couldn’t do that, then he might have at least smuggled me out a bathrobe or coat and some shoes…turned on the porch light…something.

If this sort of thing had occurred much later in the year, I might have died out there. I imagined the headline, “Local man found frozen in front yard,” and the story, “Kalispell police and the Flathead Sheriff’s Office are quibbling today over who should have jurisdiction in a strange case at Greenacres. The rigid body of George Ostrom was found crouched behind a fence straddling the city-county line. The middle-aged victim was last seen alive about 11:15 when he dashed outside in a red pair of faded, but still serviceable jockey shorts.

Family members told investigating officers that Ostrom has always loved the great outdoors and the wonders of nature. His wife said she had spent over half her life trying to straighten him out…now it was up to the undertaker.”

In less serious matters, I notice this past week had the unusual news items that would cause even a dolt to scratch his head and wonder. There was a story out of Deer Lodge that tweaked my interest. It was about a convict “trustee” who escaped while doing work outside the barbed wire. The 38-year-old escapee, Patrick Broderick, alias Evert Guardipe, was described as being 6 feet tall with a dragon tattooed on his left arm and his right arm was solid tattoos. He was serving a 15-year sentence for aggravated assault and robbery. A prison official said he “probably is not dangerous.” I guess this means that if Broderick, alias Guardipe, shows up in your neighborhood you could “probably” invite him in for tea.

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