Thursday, May 14, 2009


I am drawn to writing about winter; I don't know why, but you will find several pieces with that setting. Here's another one.

The grandparents were quite old now. It was the year I had pneumonia--one of my favorite winters. The history books and the generation just before mine tell us that these were hard times. It was the, "eye" of that hurricane they called, The Great Depression.

My grandfather was a farmer so we were a little better off than some. We at least had food. Myself I do not remember any deprivation; all was well in my immediate world. The house was on a narrow country road. It was an animated, "Currier and Ives print," smoke curling out of the old chimney, a creek meandering lazily across the back of the property, fat pumpkins squatting in the fields and cows swinging their tails and moving from one patch of grass to the next.

This was my maternal grandparents farm and we were staying with them through the winter. I loved them too, just not with the fervor I felt for Grandpa and Grandma Moore.

This house had been planned as a barn and there were two-by-fours shooting up into the shadows all over the inside. I am not sure what had happened except it was now the house and there was a big-mouthed barn some distance behind it. Time and the weather had turned the pair a lovely, pearly grey.

Up in the attic, under the eaves, Grandpa hung a special kind of corn...just for popping. When my young aunt and I saw him come down the stairs with a kettle of that corn we knew it
was winter for sure. When the last small whirlwind of colored leaves had floated to the frosty ground, and the fire in the living room glowed and hissed, it was popcorn time; it was winter tiem.

I remember so well, lying deep in a feather bed, full of corn and sounds from the old cathedral shaped radio that traveled down the dark hall.

It may be just a child's mixed up memory but it seemed as if it snowed every day. Grandma gave us a big dishpan and told us to fill it with snow and she would make us some icecream.
Well, as far as we were concerned it WAS icecream.

I caught a cold and it turned to pneumonia, which was so dangerous in those days as there were no antibiotics. A heavy weight sat on my small chest. My mother and the grandmothers nursed
me. I was at the loving mercy of every home remedy known to man; from boiled onion cough syrup to mustard packs. I lived to tell about it.

Ironically, it was the same illness that was to take Grandma Moore a few years later at age 84.

Recuperation was quite pleasant. It was obvious there was something special about me now. Grandma sang to me, mother read me stories and Auntie would have done most anything I asked.

In the meantime I gathered images that will last a lifetime; images of that winter; waking to the ethereal quiet of the first snowfall, a bowl of cornflakes covered with thick yellow cream, being pulled in a wagon over rutted lanes by my two big uncles, learning, Star light, Star bright first
star I see tonight; feeling and seeing love for the first time,and knowing it was something wonderful.

Spring was waiting behind the wind and in the veins of every tree and bush. When it came it would bring a thousand new experiences, but for now, life's magic wand was wielded by a shimmering,icy king who had his way with the countryside. Was there ever a winter like that one?

1 comment:

  1. You describe this home of love so well I can picture it myself.Isn't it so true that the very simple things really are the most special? Popcorn, corn flakes and cream, wagon ride in the evening...the quiet of snow...