Kanabec County Times: The Opposite of Cold

By Terry Salmela
Kanabec County Times

Nordskog_Opposite coverIf you are looking for a way to not only survive, but to thrive during this cold winter weather, try taking a sauna (properly pronounced sow’- na, NOT saw’na). As Michael Nordskog described it in his book, “The Opposite of Cold – Northwoods Finnish Sauna Tradition,” “The result of taking a sauna is the feeling of buoyancy, limberness, and cleanliness that leads to excellent sleep and a fresh start at shouldering the world’s burdens.”

I grew up in the Finnish triangle of Minnesota (between Sebeka, Menahga and New York Mills) where almost every Finnish-American home and farm had an indoor or outdoor sauna. Saturday and sometimes Wednesday nights were sauna nights.

We had a sauna with a wood stove in our basement on the farm. However, the sauna night was not only cultural and bathing, but also a social tradition. We often visited my uncle and aunt for a Saturday night sauna, coffee and pulla (Finnish cardamom bread) and to watch boxing on the first black and white TV in the neighborhood.

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