The air was heavy with only a slight chill weighing down the slushy footsteps down the sidewalk of Seventh Street. It wasn’t exactly a crowd that slipped past the Ice Bar at Moe’s along the route of Saturday’s parade but there was a thin inkling of the start of Winter Carnival, about as relaxed as this warm winter itself. Hands waved as a couple talked through a “What can you expect?” disappointment in the wimpy Winter.
Once inside we all started chatting, the Carnival spirit of a crowd coming more from huddling and the determination to make our own fun than the reality outside. Slithered from their winter coats this couple was older and somewhat dignified. He was balding and round-faced in an open smile, she was dark haired, elegant, and the kind of thin that comes naturally and not from a gym. As is typical in Saint Paul, they slid right into a half-serious bar chatter that was a friendly gauge as to what neighbors across town really think. “This year, just about anything can happen, I guess,” it started with the weather. But it quickly ran to politics, at least of a sort.