Feeling blue? Lugubrious? “Bluegubrious?” Don’t just sit there; do something about it. So says Walt Krendard, spokesperson of Wisconsin Alliance of Fair Weather Friends, a citizen action group recalling spring — yes, the season. “We all witnessed the equinox — some of us even attended the groundhog rallies back in February,” Krendard says, “and however you slice it, spring ain’t doing its job.” Indeed, he furthers, “it’s run away and hiding out of state.” Wisconsin recently has become ground zero for recall elections of unprecedented proportion, so it may not come as a surprise to find such a favorable climate for recalling the actual season. We went to Spring Green, in Iowa County, to find out what was happening on the ground level.
Holding a petition in her mittens and bracing a stiff clip of wind with her ear flaps down, volunteer Vanessa Inverno stands outside of the Spring Green Public Library. “We’ve had basically the same craptastic weather for the last three months now,” she laments. “February, March, now April, it’s all been the same. Spring isn’t doing its duty. It’s been like a three months-long month of March. I’m a fifth generation Wisconsinite. This isn’t how we do things in Wisconsin.” A patron leaves the library, noticeably averting eye contact with Inverno. “Care to sign to recall spring?” she asks. The patron smiles but politely says no, explaining she doesn’t get involved in politics. “Some people are like that,” Inverno rationalizes. “But that’s the great thing about America: people have the freedom not to care.”
When asked how many signatures she’s collected, she proudly boats of 47 in her first two hour stint. “Folks out here are angry and feel like spring isn’t listening. I’ve been out here every day – not Sundays, of course; library’s closed on the Lord’s day. I’d say on average I can get pert near a hundred-so signatures. My husband thinks I’m a little crazy for doing this, but I tell him I’m fired up and ready to go. Besides, I take with me a thermos of coffee, so it’s not so bad.”
But such candor does not permeate. Walt Krendard declined our request to reveal how far along his group is in recalling spring. “We don’t want to give either winter or summer a false sense of security here,” he confided. “But suffice to say, we’re confident that we’ll generously reach our goal in time.” Wisconsin Alliance of Fair Weather Friends has 90 days to gather 65 degrees worth of signatures to submit to the Government Accountability Board in order to force a recall election. If successful, spring will face a runoff election against challengers. While no one has officially announced anything, rumor has it that business leader C. Cresting Rivers and retired teacher Bud Crocus have intimated interest.
Not so fast, warns snow historian and fellow of the Aerological Lyceum Society, Richard Primavera. “We’ve seen such patterns before. While this may be politically inauspicious, it is not unprecedented.” For example Professor Primavera is quick to point out an unbroken band of 21 days in January 2004 where not once the sun appeared, and the thermometer neither dipped below 40 degrees nor inched above 50.
We decided to put all of this to the test of the truthometer. Our own NewsWatch.com’s meteorologist, Claire Paraplouie, had this to say: “At least in southern Wisconsin, the average temperature since mid-February has hovered between the upper 30s and mid 40s. Malaise has been demonstrable across the board. Of course, there are exceptions to that rule.” Indeed, the anomaly of Sunday, April 10 is a case in point; having just climbed over the 70 degree summit, revelers around the state shed their layers — together with their inhibitions and better judgment — and joyously embraced the warmth. Days later, the just cleared garden beds were covered in snow.
“This is an outrage,” railed Juan Barro, former Tea Party Patriot and now leader of Colonial Almanac, Inc. a 501(c)3, at a rally on the Capitol steps. “This is dereliction of duty, pure and simple, and we’re not gonna put up with it. I feel cheated, wronged. Spring has been abrogating its responsibility, yet it’s being celebrated and championed. I hear talk of the Easter Bunny and nursing seedlings, and I just keep thinking shame! Shame!” The crowd erupts in an impromptu chant, wagging fingers and repeating, “Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame!” “You all have heard of spring cleaning, right?” he asks aloud. “Well, we’re gonna sweep her right outta office!” A raucous applause, followed by a new chant: “Hey hey, ho ho, this equinox has got to go! Hey hey, ho ho, this equinox has got to go!”
When asked why he supports the recall efforts, Barro was direct: “It’s on account of spring’s record the last couple months. She’s totally out of touch with real hardworking Wisconsin families. We just want her to do her job. She isn’t, she hasn’t been, so she’s gotta go!”
But not everyone agrees. “I support spring,” Sonny Crane espoused, a private citizen of Madison who attended the counter-protest of Colonial Almanac. “The weather’s like, you know, a messy, sloppy process, kinda like democracy,” she told us. “There are those who are in denial of climate change, absolutely, and I’m like, whoa, man, just give spring a chance. Don’t be so impatient. It’s like Dylan said — remember? ‘You don’t need a weatherman to something something something…’ Totally!”
Unable to be reached for comments before press time, spring’s “Eternal Hope” campaign released this statement, “We recognize these are hard times, but we’ve struggled and persevered before, and we shall do so again. We are confident we will weather this storm none the worse for wear.”
Back at the Spring Green Public Library, Vanessa Inverno confides that it can get tiresome, lonesome at times, too. But it’s what the future generations are inheriting that worries her most. “I think of the children,” she says, “and it just scares me to death.”
That’s a sentiment that resonated with Edward Levantine, who happened to be running errands and saw Inverno shivering with her sign and clipboard. “‘Well, geez Eddie, I thoughts to myself I said, ‘you could be doing that too ya know,'” he mused. “And at first I was like, ‘but I’m only one person, how much of a difference can I make?’ Ya know but then I saw [Inverno] over heres and I said to myself so like ‘get off your lazy duff already, ya big galoot and go do something about this!'”
And so is renewed Inverno’s inspiration for doing this in the first place. Snowflakes drift, but a smile radiates her face as Levantine signs her petition.
If the recall is successful, voters will have a say as early as June 21, after a 30-day verification period.
Correction: Spring Green, WI, is located in Sauk County, not Iowa County. We apologize for the mistake.
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