Jim Kerr nearly turned into an icicle on his bicycle Sunday morning, so he warmed up with some rainbow sherbet in the afternoon.
The 7-year-old boy was coping with cold the only way he knew how: denial.
His coat was in the car. His socks were socknapped. He had no gloves and no hat. He ate ice cream.
“Just to freeze our day more,” said Jim, who went to the Baskin-Robbins on Grand Boulevard with his aunt, sisters and brother.
Across the city, others had the same attitude, fighting back against the last gasp of winter by ignoring it - or trying to. They fed ducks and watched their children play in a soccer tournament. They rode bikes, walked around with jackets wide open, and flaunted their naked hands and heads.
Fortunately, this test of wills won’t last long.
Sunday was the coldest day so far in March, dipping to 18 degrees. Today should be colder, forecasters say, bottoming out this morning at 10 degrees. That would be one for the books. The record low for the day is 14 degrees, set in 1955.
But the weather is supposed to start warming up late today - to a relatively balmy 42. By the end of the week, high temperatures should be in the 50s, normal for this time of year.
The mercury nose-dived because of frigid air moving down from Canada. “We’re in this Arctic cold mass,” said Dennis Bray, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
For those outside watching soccer, that’s putting it mildly.
“Would you like an unprintable comment about the weather?” Mary Beth Peterson joked. “I had to steal my daughter’s shirt for an extra layer.”
Peterson watched her son win soccer games at the 11th annual Five-a-Side Soccer Tournament. She huddled under a blanket at Spokane Falls Community College with JoAnn Zyph.
How cold was it?
“It is so cold that I’m concerned about these kids getting hit,” Zyph said. “Something could break off.”
Not with these kids, made of sinew and bones taped together by muscles.
Some even wore shorts.
Wind gusts were clocked at 38 mph, just after 10 a.m. Sunday.
The wind was a poltergeist in the South Hill Baskin-Robbin, turning the ice cream shop into a wind tunnel.
“It’s been blowing our doors open,” said Stephanie Conklin, a store manager.
“I keep turning my head because I think somebody’s coming in.”
And sometimes, somebody was. Business was slow but steady.
Jim Kerr stuffed spoonfuls of sherbet the size of small bulldozer loads into his mouth.
His 3-year-old sister wore her ice-cream bar like chocolate lipstick.
Gary Thomas and his wife and daughter just had to get out of the house for dessert.
The choice was ice cream or pie, and ice cream won.
“We’re hoping that spring is around the corner,” Thomas said.
“As long as the heater’s on in the car and the sun’s out, it’s a good day to have an almost banana split.”
It was also a good day to feed ducks and seagulls at Manito Park.
One family tossed bread and emptied a box of Fry’s Quality Assured Crispy Crunch into the pond.
William Van Komen, 4, threw chunks of bread in his mouth - and at the birds.
“Somebody catch that,” he ordered.
“And that. And that.”
His mother, Jena Van Komen, said they came to the pond because William was bored to death.
“Even though it’s freezing out, we had to do something,” she said.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo