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"Lazy Winter Days" by Rolly A. Chabot

Updated on January 14, 2013


Well you picked a good time to come and settle into the Fireside it seems. Winter is special in many ways. Complain as much as we like here about them but there are those like today that call and say "Come along now I have a special treat for you."

Welcome all who have dropped in to say hello. Glad you are here and sorry for the lack of writing on my part but I have been busy. Four novels in the past four months and now the editing and dealing with publishers seemed to take up a considerable amount of time. I turned out my latest called "Wolf Run" and it has been a success on Amazon so far. I have a sequel in the works for it and it should be up in a few months.

Gather around and get settled in and lets see where the keyboard wonders to today...

Hidden Treasures



I just love to explore through old abandoned places such as this and see what is hidden within. Have you ever wondered what places like this could tell you if they could talk. You cannot help but wonder about the voices of the past and what they may tell you of what really took place here.

I always like to think they were once filled with laughter and joy. I like to think they kept the occupants warm and dry and the sound of happy children can still be heard. What would our homes say to people in the years to come when they end up in this state.

Hopefully such was the case here, it is one of those places that just had a good feel about it. I did not enter because first it was posted with large signs speaking of private property. The other reason, well shall I say the roof looked like the least noise would bring it down. As inviting as it was to check it out I thought better for both reasons.

They Still Stand



The part of the country I live in is primarily farming and cattle country. Within driving distance is the mountains, big city and urban sprawl. Yet here stands a history that people still hold sacred. You see they leave their old building up like family flags. They let them age gracefully and allow us a glimpse into their backgrounds.

This old barn was built in 1901 according to the great, great grandson who now owns the land. He tells me it was homesteaded back then and that it has been in the family for four generations. I asked him why it still stood. He kicked the tires on his truck and said "Why not, every time I look at it I am reminded of why I still farm."

Apparently generations before were dairy farmers and he is proud of his heritage. Good for him is all I can say. Very good for him, he could bulldoze it all down and grow crops but his heritage is important. It is a legacy that has been left and all the sons after have shown respect to the previous generations and the hard work.

Fresh Clear Water



After we chatted for a long while he told me I was more than welcome to just roam around and take as many photos as I wanted. I watched as he drove away with the honk of a horn. "Just be sure and close the gate on the way out." It was all he said.

Roam around I did. Sadly the old house had burned to the ground in 1977. He told me that it had been built from the trees the land once had. Each piece cut dried and run through a sawmill. The only remnants were a few large timbers charred black which had been salvaged. His plans were to use one as a mantel on the fireplace in the new home he was building.

Funny the way people keep coming back into our lives. I ran into him the other day in the Post Office and he asked if I would be willing to hand carve the dates and the family name into the timber when he has it in place. What a gift he has given by asking. I guess he must have asked around and learned I was a carver. It would be a privilege to do this for him.



Our Junk

To some this picture would say junk. To me it speaks history, a family once lived here. Children actually lived and played here before the advent of video games and such. A time when children could make their own worlds come alive with imaginations. There was no limits, their world was endless at what could be done with what was at hand. A bed sheet would take you to flying. It was easy all you had to do was imagine.

It was a time when things were simple. A time when boys would be boys and mean no harm to anyone. You see we never walked into schools and movie theaters to do the unthinkable. We just did what we did. It was a time when you played till supper time and came home when it was dark. It did not take long to hear our parents were looking for us. It was the way. Right was right and wrong was wrong. There was no in between, the results of disobeying could mean getting a strapping and we respected it.

We did not need a GPS to show where we were. We just were, we were just kids who acted out being kids. We could spend our days playing with a tin can and a stick. We could sleep at night knowing our parents would be there when we woke up.

We ate meals together, we played together, we spoke to each other without texting. We just were and best of all we respected those in authority above us. In the small town where I lived I was hauled a few times by the ear back to my parents. That was respect in motion and it worked.


The Past

I know there are times when I have been accused of living in the past to much. I have been told to get with the times and forget about what happened yesterday. Are you right, well I guess I am just some old guy spouting off.

I know we are in a new generation, tell me all about it. I happened to live in a house filled with the latest and greatest. Yet I watch some young guy texting his girlfriend who sits at the other end of the couch and all I can think of is buddy you are missing something here. If we still had Drive in Movies what would happen? Well I take that one back as well...

Now that truly carbon dates me... lol. Raise your hands guys if you ever drove away with a speaker still mounted on your vehicle window.


Smelling The Roses

I may be a dreamer, a romantic at heart but I do think the best way to a lady's heart through good old fashioned reality and conversation. Should we happen to take the downside of life and choose to be angry and unforgiving well you reap the rewards... Me I choose to say hello and may our passing be one filled with joy and blessing. What say we all get with the program....

Our worlds no matter where we call home we see the great need around us. I love to sit and talk to the seniors and hear their stories. We have a few lodges here for seniors and I make it a point when ever I can to stop and visit. Just say hello and it is amazing the stories people can tell you of their hardships. They had it very hard in comparison to what we have today.

One old widower I chatted with the other day shared with me the importance of love. He said, "Son I was married to the same girl for 63 years. She worked with me side by side all those years. We raised a family of six children and never once did she complain."

I asked him why and he smiled and said, "Son you learn to appreciate what you have when you have nothing else. Keep life simple, what ever you do son, do it well. Me and my girl we kept it simple." I asked if he would have done anything different and he sat back and smiled. "I would have married her all over again and again if I could. I have lost the most valued treasure I had." He wiped a tear from his eye and smiled. "You see son she lasted many a year and we just sort of fit. I will join her soon. When I do I will be so blessed."



We Age

These old building do eventually fall down on their own. They are like the trees in the forest that no one hears. They just do but while they are standing they make a statement, an impact on those who stop long enough to find the beauty hidden within. I have found they are like people. Once a relationship and trust has been formed they love to tell stories.

Take the time tomorrow and the next day and the next to stop and listen. Invite people into your world and they will do the same for you. It is amazing just how much a little love can given will bring blessings back to you many times over. This old fellow has a son in Eastern Canada that only makes it this way every two years. Old Ben said yup, a big wheel in some company out that way. I wish I could see him more often."

One thing led to another and he gave me his son's phone number. I called and the result was I brought my computer over to Ben's place and he and his Dad chatted for about an hour on Skype. Ben smiled and said maybe I should get me one of those riggings and do that every week."

© Rolly A. Chabot

Yes Ben and his son were blessed but I was as well. A simple act of love to a lonely older man made the difference. His words were few as he wiped away his tears. "I need to get me one of these fancy camera things son, what say you and I take a drive and buy one."

If it can bring that sort of joy into a normally mundane day, well I need to tell you I will be all over the task. Can Ben run a computer? Well that is a whole other story but all I can tell you is I was blessed to see the look on this mans face that day. "Thank you Ben for teaching me the value of life. It is not how much we have as it is the way we look at it. No matter how old we or things get there is still a meaning to be shared.

No that you are loved and thank you for visting the Fireside.


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    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi aviannovice ...good to hear you have held them close to your heart. They are indeed a treasure. What is even more important we take the time to teach. Children need to understand the need to look after themselves. Carrots do not grow in the store, they come from the ground and they taste even better when the are garnished with a little dirt. Better yet when they are taken from the neighbours garden...

      Many Hugs from Alberta Canada

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Silvergenes... another who likes to roam the hills and far corners of cemeteries. After many years I finally went back to the small town where I was raised and knew only a few people. I stopped at the cemetery and spent a few hours just looking at some of the old names and many of whom I attended school with.

      Memories are something we can hang onto...

      Hugs and Blessings from Alberta

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I grew up in those simpler days in those hard winters in Downeast Maine. We had sledding paths, forts and cross-country skied. In the spring we tilled an acre for a garden, and had plenty to put away for the winter. Sure, it was tougher then, but a lot sweeter, too. I shall never give up those memories, for they are mine.

    • profile image

      SilverGenes 5 years ago

      This really speaks to the heart, across distance and time. It doesn't take much to change the course of things... just a Skype call sometimes.

      The photos speak volumes. I often find myself hoping the lives of those who once called these old buildings home were good lives. One day, I was roaming through an old, forgotten cemetery in a primitive and harsh area of what was once Upper Canada. The birthdates were from the 1700s and most were from County Armaugh in Ireland. The mind simply reels when the reality of this hits home. Down a small slope, nestled under a tree, were two simple stones together. You couldn't help but feel the love :)

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi TT... I know what you mean about Montana. I have taken some of the old back roads around the Shelby area and done the same. I respect the folks that hang onto some of the old as a reminder of where they have come from. One old schoolhouse I found had the initials carved in a heart of two people, I could not help but wonder what their lives turned out like...

      Watch out for the Cactus... they can bite and make some ugly scratches... trust me I know...

      Hugs from Canada

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      That is one thing I miss about Montana....all the old, abandon homesteads. We loved to drive out on the prairie and look at all the old buildings, school houses, churches, etc. To witness the remnants of history, wondering who might have lived in the old places.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Sueswan... thanks for visiting and yes by all means bring some of the old into the world today. I love that thought, it hits home here thinking of some of those old things we would do.

      Hugs and stay warm...

    • profile image

      Sueswan 5 years ago

      Hi Rolly,

      It is a cold day here in Toronto. So glad I dropped by to read your heartwarming tale. I know we can't live in the past but I think the world would be better if we could bring some of the good things from the past into the present. Yes, we have all the fancy gadgets, but are we any happier?

      "Keep life simple, what ever you do son, do it well." Amen

      Hugs and blessings from Toronto

      Voted up and away and sharing

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Carol... thanks for dropping in on the Fireside and I do hope you have found some peace and rest in the country.

      Hugs and Blessings from Canada

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      I love your photos and where you live...I feel like I stepped into the country. Four books four months..Daunting task...Look forward to exploring some of your writing. Great hub and voting up, sharing etc.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Gypsy... stay warm my friend... toss an extra log on the fire and cuddle in close with Sid.

      These old places are steeped in history. I have been tossing some ideas around of maybe doing something history related with each I find interesting. People really do want to share their stories...

      Hugs as always

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi lindalou1963 ... Thanks for stopping at the Fireside and a blessing to read your comment... Good to have you with us...

      Hugs from Canada

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up and interesting. Could've sworn I already commented but here goes again. I sure love visiting old places and imagining who used to live there and what life was like. Great pics. Hugs. We're sure freezing here tonight we've got 21° F. Passing this on and keep warm.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi AliciaC...thank you so much for the visit and the kind words. You are so right we can reach out. It is free and if we are willing we can make a difference in another's life. A little time, a smile or a kind word can change someones day for the better.

      Hugs from Canada

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Jackie... you have a great agent... her name is Jackie. I agree with you when it comes to the old and what could be done to preserve it. Then there is a point in time when it needs to be left to age gracefully and bring a smile and photo opportunity to those like us. No snakes here so I have been known to borrow a few bulbs along the way... recycling at its finest.

      Hugs and Love from Canada

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Always... birds of a feather I would say. I learned a long while ago when you are looking over a town and considering a move and want to get to know it. The best thing is to cruise the back alleys. Amazing what people have... smiles.

      Hugs from Canada

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Morning Mary... cemeteries are always interesting. Sad when you think of all the love that has passed on and left the grieving for those left behind. Cows well I have been known to take a few pictures of them. Love the spring of the year and watching the young calves discovering their legs and life.

      Hugs from Canada

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up. Thanks for the tour Rolly. I love wandering through old places and thinking about the history and wondering what it was once like. Great pics. Passing this on. Hugs.

    • lindalou1963 profile image

      Linda 5 years ago from Texas

      What a wonderful story! I'm so glad I came across this today. Reading this, I felt as though you had taken my thoughts and put them into words. Very well done!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I loved your words about the importance of the past, Rolly, and I also found the story of Ben communicating with his son via Skype very touching. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences, as well as the lovely photos.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I hope he does get his camera!

      I have pictures like those, have never put any online, guess I thought I was the only one to find them beautiful. lol So many have such gorgeous flowers too, don't they. Probably lovingly planted so many years ago. Where I live, snakes keep me at a distance!

      I find beautiful homes too though that have been left to rot by someone when they could have made wonderful homes for years and years more. Sad. Congrats on books! Wish I had an agent.

      Great stories, thank you for sharing. GB

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi kenyanXstian... welcome to the Fireside and thanks for the comment and so write... the past plays a huge role in who we have become along the way...

      Rolly in Canada

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Hello Rolly, I love to go around the country roads and look at old abandoned home-sites. I always wonder who lived there, were they happy, etc. I enjoyed reading this. Your kindness to others is wonderful, you always inspire me. Thank you again..

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      What a beautiful hub Rolly. Appreciating what we have and what we see around us is becoming a dying art and that's a shame. So much to be learned. Funny, when we were kids my parents were always visiting cemeteries and taking pictures of cows! Go figure ;) I really enjoyed reading this.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • kenyanXstian profile image

      Eword Media Unit 5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      The past tells us where we come from so that we ca face our future confidently with lessons learned.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Billy... even better when you have your girl beside you... smiles... Thanks for stopping by and saying hello.

      Hugs from Canada to you both...

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You and I speak the same language. One of our favorite things to do is take a drive in the country and explore. We'll stop at little cemeteries, and we'll take pictures of old barns and houses that are falling apart. It's all history and it's all fascinating.

      Well done my friend! Stay safe!

      hugs from Oly



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