My Memories Of Winters Past
I Was Never Fond Of Winter.
I have to say up front, I've never been fond of Winter. I am like a plant: I need lots of sunshine and warmth to survive. I grew up in the hills of South Carolina. We got very little snow as I recall. My Daddy said it was too cold to snow where we lived. I never really understood that (I still don't). I never built a snowman.
I do remember waking in the mornings to see icicles hanging from the trees. It would rain during the night, and the rain would turn to icicles. When I went out before school in the dark to do my chores of feeding the animals, the first thing I did was to break up the ice in all their water buckets.
Our little two bedroom house in the country had no electricity until I was 12 years old, so my early memories of Winter are memories of just being cold! My Daddy got up long before my Mother and me, so the first thing he did was to build a fire in the fireplace. He used the logs we had cut for that purpose along with coal. Coal was cheap and plentiful.
Then he made a fire in Mama's wood stove in the kitchen. By the time I got out of bed, the house was nice and toasty. After I dressed in my long underwear and put on layers and layers of warm outer clothing, I was brave enough to go out and attend to my chores.
I walked two miles to school. I still remember my feet were numb by the time I got to school. Our little two room school had no heat either, except for the big pot bellied stove that was in front of our classroom. There would be a big fire started in that stove before we all arrived, thank goodness. I had the misfortune of having a teacher who was very much overweight. She would stand directly in front of the stove. I remember wishing I could ask her to step aside so we kids could get some heat.
I remember evenings in our little house. My Mother cooked a big supper for us every night. We always had meat that we raised ourselves. Oh, I can still taste the country cured ham from our pigs. We grew all our vegetables, so they were plentiful. I loved them all except for the collard greens. She always made either cornbread or her big tasty buttermilk biscuits. I can still remember enjoying her cakes and pies. Even without a thermostat in that wood stove, she turned out wonderful desserts.
Speaking of biscuits; one of my fondest memories was coming home from school and getting a biscuit she had left for me in the warmer of the wood stove. I would poke a hole in the side of the biscuit, and pour molasses right down in that hole! That would hold me over until suppertime.
After suppertime, we lit the kerosene lamps. I did my homework by that light. Later, I would climb into bed and Mother would come and tuck me in. She would have the hot water bottle ready for my back. I still remember her tucking the hot water bottle and quilts up tightly against my back. My constant companion and best friend was a beautiful while Collie named Chubby. Chubby would jump into bed and snuggle under the covers with me.
I would always hope I didn't have to get up during the night and have to walk to the outhouse in the cold. Daddy built one for us which was really very nice compared to our neighbor's. Every bed had a "slop jar" underneath in case you couldn't make it to the outhouse! This is not one of my one fondest memories of winter.
My childhood memories are wonderful. I was lucky to have caring parents who taught me to live by the Golden Rule, and that hard work and a little discomfort was good for the body and soul.
Of course we all have to grow up whether we like it or not: we have no choice, right? After I graduated high school, I left my little two bedroom house to go to the big city of Atlanta, Georgia. I attended college there, worked there, married and started a family there. So, I have Winter memories of living there. Some people think because Atlanta is in the South, it is warm there. It is not warm by any means.
There are many hills in Atlanta. These hills can be a real challenge to drive on when there is ice or sleet on the streets. It is hard to walk, too. After work late one night, I had to get to my car which was parked at the bottom of a very steep hill. When I would try to walk on the sidewalk, my feet would slip and I'd fall down! After many attempts to walk to my car, I remember sitting down and sliding down the hill on my behind!
One morning, I had to get to work. I went outside to start my car. The windshield was solid ice! Being the dumb blonde I was, I went back into the house and boiled a big pot of water. I took the water to the car and poured the hot water over the windshield. You can imagine what happened! I had to pay to have the windshield replaced.
Well time marched on. After my Hubby graduated from Veterinary School it was time to decide where we would live. I begged and pleaded: PLEASE TAKE US TO A WARM CLIMATE! Remember Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone with the Wind"? She raised her arms to the sky and vowed she would never be hungry again? That is my exact sentiments: I never want to be cold again!
The first Winter I spent in Florida made me very happy. When I took my four children to our local beach on the first New Year's Day after we came, it was 82 degrees, and I was thankful. This is the place I have looked for all my life.
A Beautiful Sunrise In Sunny Florida
I grew up in South Carolina, then on to Georiga
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My dog, Chubby ran with me through the woods and swam with me in the creek. He never had a chance to play in the snow, but I'll bet he would have loved that!
© 2014 Mary Hyatt
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