Friday, February 11, 2011
To this date I know of any legislative attempt to change our weather to a more pleasant year-round average so we may as well plan on enduring the extremes of both summer and winter.
For me, my memories of each season are quiet vivid, for I grew up in the days of the Great Depression and comfort was not a high priority item, especially if one lived in the country.
Of course, there were numerous nice country dwellings, but in general, the majority of the farm houses were box houses, built without a wall framework but instead of wide vertical boards striped with 1x4s to cover the crack between each board. A board of one-inch thickness does not keep out much
Most of these houses were being lived in without the benefit of any repairs and their original poor construction and the effects of weather had taken their toll, resulting in wide cracks and humps in the floors.
A winter in 1930 is the one I most often think of in terms of cold. We lived in a fairly well built house--I remember no wide cracks or missing windowpanes. As was the custom, it had two flues for the escaping wood smoke: one for the cook stove and one located in the living room for a wood burning heater.
My memory is of a wood heater sitting at an angle in a corner of the living room: a stack of wood near by, my father’s rocker and a library table with a kerosene lamp lining the wall. My mother’s rocker was also near the table and lamp, for they both spent a few hours reading each night.
As a four-year old, I was constantly on the move, standing by the heater until my legs were red and burning and then returning to my play across the room for only a few minutes before another thawing session by the stove.
When I think of past winters, that is my first memory of being cold. Children’s winter clothing in those days was far different from that of today. Although there were“long johns” for the boys, the girls had to contend with dresses and cotton stockings, which would not stay in place and were hated heartily. Surely there were under vests but I don’t remember any.
It was cold and you lived with it.
By the time I was ten we had moved into our very own home with four large rooms and two wonderful porches all interestingly dilapidated
This house was also of box construction, but as a much larger one, it showed more serious effects of settling, creating cracks along in the flooring that made sweeping out the dirt an easy chore. Its large “L” shaped back porch had buckled with the settling resulting in a huge hump at one end.
The walls were insulated with layers of newspapers and magazine pages that today would probably be worth more than the old house itself.
None of these flaws bothered me in the least, for I loved that old house at first sight.
In this house the heater had a short wall of its own making it easier to crowd around when the weather turned cold. Despite this old house’s construction flaws, it never seemed to be as severely cold as the earlier one… except for the north bedroom with its one north window. I expect a glass of water would have frozen hard overnight.
School closings were unheard of in those days. There was no way to communicate such notices, and after walking some distance in snow only to reach a locked schoolhouse was unthinkable.
One’s common sense was the guideline and I have no memories of missed days. There are, however, quite a few of crowding around a huge wood burning stove with a roaring fire, trying to warm feet that felt frozen from tramping a mile over a frozen and rutted road.
Realistically, there was no way that red hot stove was going to warm a large room in near freezing temperatures, so when completely chilled, students would again hover around the stove.
Once, after a snow storm arrived during the school day, I choose when going home, to take a shortcut through the woods, reasoning that there would be less time in the cold and a nice windbreak from the blowing wind. My mother was not happy with my decision. In fact, she was extremely unhappy, for as every mother knows, children get disorientated in the snow and are lost and suffer all sorts of other terrible consequences….
I believe these are a few of the days sometimes spoken of as “The good ole days.”
Monday, February 7, 2011
During all those days with snow on the ground and with nothing to do except to look out the window and take naps, I got to thinking how nice it is to have company. That got me to thinking about what happened New Year's Eve.
I’m a quiet kind of guy so I’m content with taking walks and naps, and talking My Lady into playing a game of tug-of-war with one of my toys, but when New Year’s Eve came, it was nice to have two of our regular visitors come to visit, but it wasn’t such a nice surprise to see a squirmy little girl dog rushing in the door. She was going in five directions at once and sniffing me and barking like crazy.
Well, of course, I barked back and tugged at my leash so I could better handle this situation, but My Lady held me tight. This little newcomer must have been named Rosie, for that sure was yelled a lot. Finally I got tired of the whole situation and went to my chair by the window. I couldn’t look out though, because if I turned my back on this Rosie dog she’d try to jump there with me.
Oh, it made me tired to watch her run around, wiggling all the time and sniffing at everything. I left my chair a time of two but here Rosie would come, barking and kissing my nose in a most forward manner. I got plenty tired of it and when I’ve had enough, I’m through, so for the first time in my new home, I rolled m lip back and did a snarl that should have delivered a strong message.
Well, that snarl and several more, didn’t impress that Rosie one little bit. I guess she was wiggling to much to get the message so finally when she crowded me again, I really got serious because I was ready to take a piece of hide. You can imagine how that went over with My Lady! She took me to my place in the corner of the sofa and told me to stay.
It was nice that she petted me a little and rubbed my favorite spot under my chin so I didn’t feel to badly about being an ungracious host but I sure didn’t like what that Rosie dog did next. She jumped up in My Lady’s lap and kept squirming around so I would be sure and notice her. I wish My Lady had dumped her out on the floor on her little wiggly rear!
It was nice when midnight rolled around and Rosie went her way and I went mine and we settled down for the night.
Things were much better the next morning and I managed to sneak over and eat Rosie’s food and drink her water. That made my day!
Well, you can imagine how boring this week has been, to make me wish for another visit from Rosie but I guess it wouldn't have been long before all that running and wiggling would have had me hunting for a place to hide.