I have two stories that rumble around in my head each winter, when the weather gets testy, this year I added a third.
(And you may have heard this one before).
Growing up, my Grandpa would talk about a train that derailed south of his farm in the dead of winter, January of 1929. The train derailed and “turned turtle” (went over on it’s back) when it hit a hard snow drift. One of the engineers (Roscoe Stevens) was trapped in the wreckage for over 3 hours. Grandpa said, (and I have this on tape) ” I can still see that man…had a damn rod as thick as my arm over his arm…he was laying there, couldn’t move. Both engines were lying in the ditch. then the doctor hollered,” Does anybody got some whiskey??? Come on, get some! If you got nothing, get some! We’ve got to have whiskey for this guy.” they poured the whole pint in him. He was suffering….It was 35 to 40 below. You don’t ever forget those things…”
Here are a couple of pictures of that train wreck:
You may have heard this one before too, that can happen around here. 😉
Back in 2011 I stumbled across the poetry of Elsie Strawn Armstrong on-line. She was a pioneer mother who lived from 1789 to 1891. She wrote a series poems called “Sketches Of My Life.” One of the most powerful accounts happened in 1831. They lose their provision of salt, which in that time apparently was a life and death situation. ( I know it had to do with food preservation for the coming year, but not sure how that all works…)
“Our salt was in a gum,
And was standing on the loft,
But met with a bad accident,
when the cover got shoved off.
I had some in a box,
That was standing down below,
Not enough to last till spring,
And we knew not where to go…
Elsie asks a man who had been selling salt if he had more to sell? He didn’t, and didn’t know when more would be in. He said...”If I go for salt, I’ll freeze to death, and perish in the snow.”
She goes home, and tells her children the situation.
When I got home, I told my children
What the man had said,
Then William said, I’ll go myself,
And take that big old sled.
“Mother do not be uneasy,
None but lazy people freeze,
Because they will not exercise,
They are so fond of ease.
There is no fear for me Mother,
I will jump and kick the sled,
I will keep myself in exercise
Run, and kick the wagon bed….
Their team was good and active,
All four year olds and strong….
The account goes on…
Fifteen year old Will and his little brother take off on a 90 mile trek in the dead of winter with their team. They have to cross a frozen river, deal with winter storms, not get lost, be on guard for roving Indians, (all while mom is at home second guessing herself, with the rest of her brood).
This week, just to make sure I was on my game because the weather man said we were in for it, we were going to get a “Polar vortex”,what ever the heck that was, I decided to add a third story to my winter attitude folder.
I decided to reread a portion of novel The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
It was perfect!
It was just what the Dr ordered!
I am torn.
Torn because I love winter.
I love winter storms.
I love being snowed in.
I love busting through drifts with my 4 wheel drive pick up.
Last thing I want to do is mock someone to whom the winter storms are a heartache. (My parents are in their 80’s and I know it can be hard on both of them). The thing is, from my vantage point, all of the negative, naysayers are the only voices I hear. Fellow lovers of winter weather seem to be either a dying breed or keeping their thoughts to themselves.
I grew up on a farm.
On the farm, when you have livestock, you don’t get to stay in the house when it gets cold. Sometimes just the opposite. Those are the times when stuff starts to break. Water lines to the cattle get frozen or the pilot light to the tank heater won’t stay lit, etc. etc. Christmas morning if you have milk cows (like we did) the cows still need milking, haying, might even have more manure to pitch than normal if you keep the cows in the barn overnight so they don’t freeze their utters off. 🙂
So here I am now in the year 2019.
All of our children are grown. No longer have cows to milk, tank heaters to keep lit. none of it.
Predictions of winter storms stir up within me feelings of thankfulness. I feel like some little creature tucked away deep in my burrow, Cozy. My larder is full. The house is staying warm. Smell of freshly baking bread is in the air. Garden seeds have started coming in the mail. The new little heating pad that goes under the seed starting tray is working like a charm.
I feel better. Now you know.
I got into a conversation yesterday with a young mom about this past weeks weather. She asked me what I thought about it. I paused, looked her in the eyes and told her the same things I’ve just told you here.
She smiled and said, “I feel the same way.”
Here’s a picture I took earlier in the week in front of our house:
Got to run. Need to go to the bank before they close. Take care. DM