Snow and Ice-and Something Nice


This is the coldest morning of the year-the coldest morning in many years, actually.  It may be the coldest morning of my life.  The lovely snow is ice now.  Schools are closed and so I am by the morning table watching the sun light the rabbit patch up.  It is a beautiful morning to behold.  You can hear a truck a mile away in this silence.  

The boys made it home yesterday afternoon.  Both of them nearly got stuck in the yard, so wood must be brought in on foot. There are no sidewalks at the rabbit patch, so I expect a good deal of the rabbit patch soil to end up on the floors of the old farm house.

I have an agenda , in spite of the sense that all motion has ceased in the community around the rabbit patch.  Soup is on the stove already simmering and if I can get out from under the heated blanket, I will make cornbread.  Kyle will convince me to make cinnamon buns, at some point. He, like Moon Shine, must eat all day to stay alive.

I hope to call an old friend today and actually have a leisure conversation.  This may be one of the few luxuries that the ice affords. I find it ironic, that before dish washers and dryers, microwaves and instant potatoes, people had time to visit.  My mama and grandmama visited  “Mama Hodges” and Aunt Agnes every week. Miss Delphie came over too, who could” find things growing on a ditch bank and make an arrangement fit for Sundays’ Church services” so grandmama said. The women talked, traded recipes and probably solved a lot of the worlds’ problems while the children played outside in unhindered free play.   That was something nice.  The gathering broke up in late morning, so  the twelve o’clock “dinner” could be prepared.  There were no canned biscuits either, then-and cakes did not come in boxes.  

This was really only fifty years ago, and it startles to me to think how things have so dramatically changed.  Grandmama had a “saying” she quoted often-“Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”  It meant while you were throwing things out or changing something up, you might lose the most precious thing about it-and I fear we may do that – and often.  Of course, childhood has changed too.  No one worried about training us for the Olympics and we played our ball games in back yards while the adults made ice cream.  It is quite an occasion to see an unorganized ball game in a back yard now, I notice.  Of course, I grew up in the rural USA, and I take that in to consideration, but still I wonder how people grew vegetables, canned them, hung clothes on lines, tended to their children at home and still had time to visit on a Tuesday morning.   

I guess when ice covers the world outside of the back door and as far as can be seen, I remember that I tend to go “kicking and screaming” in to the modern world, on the best of days.  I like the great advancements in medicine and communications.  I like convenience too-it just seems like we lost something beautiful, on the way to “here” and we might ought to go back and look for it -or maybe Thomas Wolfe was right, after all, when he said “You can’t go home again.”

No matter, how I got here, I hope to always grow tomatoes in the spring and can them in late summer.  I will decorate cakes with wild violets and  eat on china instead of paper.  In this way, I will tell Lyla, and all of those after her, the story of those before her. . . Her great great grandmother Edna was right and   so  I will do my best, to “not throw the baby out with the bath water.”