March warm-up puts a spring in our steps

Published 10:15 am Monday, March 16, 2015

By Richard Chin

St. Paul Pioneer Press

ST. PAUL — On Sunday, much of St. Paul seemed to agree with Oscar Hammerstein II: It might as well be spring.

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We didn’t see a crocus or a rosebud or a robin on the wing in our inspection of our habitat, but we made several significant phenological observations of H. sapiens behavior as temperatures rose into the 60s.

Earlier this week, for example, we documented a sighting of a bare-legged male wearing a kilt and sandals on Summit Avenue. That was closely followed by observations of convertibles with tops down. Reports of golfers on the links, individuals eating at sidewalk tables and eager beavers starting yard work also have been received.

To be sure, this is Minnesota, or the North, as it’s now being identified. So the data can be muddled by confounding behavior like schoolchildren waiting for the bus in February wearing flip-flops, bicyclists who insist on riding through the winter and New Year’s Day polar plunges.

But on Sunday, even though morning temperatures hadn’t yet climbed out of the 50s, Andrea Howell and her daughter, Kate Howell, of Falcon Heights, were feeling spring feverish. They decided to have their coffee and sweet rolls from Bread & Chocolate outside at a sidewalk table on Grand Avenue even though they admitted they would be more comfortable inside.

“It’s on the edge right now,” Andrea Howell said.

But Kate said, “We’ve been sitting inside for a really long time.”

The 16-year-old said earlier this week she took a run wearing a sports bra and lay in the sun on a blanket to do homework.

At Como Golf Course, Bethany Johnson, Alicia LaMere and Jesse Lammi decided to play a round.

Johnson, 24, of New Brighton, said last week she also had lunch outside on a patio. LaMere, 24, of New Brighton, said she spent some time tanning on a deck.

It’s true that LaMere was wearing a fur hat on the golf course, but she said, “It’s more of a fashion statement.”

Lammi, 23, of Mounds View, said before Sunday, the earliest in the season he can remember golfing was three years ago on March 27.

“This is my new record,” he said.

“He can’t remember anniversaries, but he can remember that stuff,” said Johnson, who is engaged to Lammi.