My cousin Jim sent the family an email lamenting the amount of snow his neck of the woods has gotten this year (around 5 feet). My mom responded to him with a wonderful tale from her and Jim's dad's (Mom's brother) childhood. Written memories like this are such treasures:
I surmise that you are fed up, correct? This too will melt and then you will just have mud. I enjoyed your take on Robert Frost's poem.
When we, Aunt Helen, your Dad and I were young, (indulge me, old folks talk a lot about olden days) we had a snow and ice storm of epic proportions [they grew up in Jamestown, MO]. First came the snow and high winds that made huge snow drifts. That was followed by an ice storm that coated everything. The trees were bending and breaking, the few electric and phone lines were down. Electricity was provided by a local plant that served just Jamestown. On a normal day we had electricity from 6am until morning light and from sundown until 10pm.but we had kerosene lamps. So you see, we really weren't in the dark.
School was canceled and we had the most incredible winter vacation. After the chores; bringing in wood and coal, milking the cow, chipping ice to get to the cellar for stored canned goods, root vegetables, saurkraut, sausage and homemade wine, we were free to play. Everything stopped for the winter games.
Everyone that had skates, both old and young, were skating over the fence rows, the fields, all of our world was snow with a heavy coating of ice. Sledding was fast and, we thought, very dangerous. The hill we used became so slick we had to hack steps close to the downhill slide to be able to get back to the top.
Whenever we had a snowstorm, the tradition at our house was, Mother made a pot of chili, or "rig tum ditty" then we would set up a card table in the living room and have dinner by our beautiful "circulator". That was a coal burning stove with pretty windows to view the fire. It was a bit of a status symbol.
After that Mother would read the beginning parts of John Greenleaf Whittier's "Snowbound". Then, bedtime with the evening serenade by Dad [my grandfather was a wonderful jazz pianist].
Really good hard times.
Love, and come for another visit -
So all night long the storm roared on:
The morning broke without a sun;
In tiny spherule traced with lines Of Nature's geometric signs,
And, when the second morning shone,
We looked upon a world unknown,
On nothing we could call our own.
Around the glistening wonder bent
The blue walls of the firmament,
No cloud above, no earth below,
A universe of sky and snow!
The old familiar sights of ours
Took marvelous shapes; strange domes and towers
Rose up where sty or corn-crib stood,
Or garden-wall, or belt of wood;
A smooth white mound the brush-pile showed,
A fenceless drift what once was road;
The bridle-post an old man sat
With loose-flung coat and high cocked hat;
The well-curb had a Chinese roof;
And even the long sweep, high aloof,
In its slant splendor, seemed to tell
Of Pisa's leaning miracle."
expect nostalgia at times