California dreamin’ on a winter day/Paul Peterson

As winters go, the current one has been a record-setter in many ways.

There’s been the string of more than 73 straight days below freezing. Numerous snow days for local schools and universities. And just plain, brutal numbing cold … the kind they used to say would freeze a well digger’s posterior.

And we can’t overrule the possibility that an all-time record for snowfall (set in 1978-79) won’t be established.

In the backdrop of all this misery, it’s not hard to do the kind of old-fashioned California Dreamin’ the late and great Mamas and Papas sang about back in the day.

I thought back to March Madnesses of the past when the annual boys basketball tournaments almost always featured a warm sun melting away the last of winter’s snowbanks.

It was also a time for optimism and hope, when every team was starting out anew.

Maybe, if they played hard enough, they could duplicate the feat of a 5-13 Lake Linden (there was no Hubbell in the name) team that upset a 17-1 Ewen-Trout Creek outfit in the 1969 districts.

Or perhaps do something like a downstate team (I’m thinking it was Clare) did when it took a 4-14 record into the postseason and made it deep into state tournament in the late 1950s.

Of course, weatherwise, that’s not probable in 2014. Just the other night, I encountered high snowbanks in Chassell – a town that traditionally gets less snow than most towns in our area. Not to mention bone-chilling cold straight from the latest polar vortex.

But on the subject of dreaming California style, I think back to a late March a few years ago. My family and I had just arrived in sunny Orlando for a week when the Weather Channel reported of some 48 inches of snow falling in Toivola.

I couldn’t help but think, while taking in a Detroit Tigers exhibition game in 80 degree temperatures, that my neighbors were shoveling out large piles of the white stuff.

And to be perfectly honest, I didn’t feel all that bad that we had missed the big storm by a day.

Or there was that New Year’s Day in Fort Huacucha, Ariz. when a few of my Army buddies and I golfed a round.

Afterward, we lounged on the veranda of the club in 68 degree temperatures with a drink or two and talked about our folks back home.

The Upper Midwest was then going through a cold snap that had sent the thermometer plunging in the 30-degree below range.

But don’t feel any envy … I’m now paying for those warm and carefree days like the rest of the Copper Country.