Cold weather values remain constants

By Lynn Moncus: Quay County Sun Coumnist

Through the years, we have visited much about the weather and its ever-changing attributes. The sudden changes are the ones that really catch our attention and cause us to wonder what will happen next.

Our warm, fall days disappeared in one big hurry Wednesday and shocked our minds and bodies one more time. Some of us had barely located our winter coats and weren’t exactly ready for that wind straight from the deep freeze. Many of us hadn’t even worn a jacket Tuesday and had just ambled around in our slow-paced mode while enjoying a modicum of warmth. That pace increased to a near trot when we dashed to an from our cars and tried to pretend that our heavy coats would be sufficient to protect us from the icy blasts.

On such mornings, this woman from Ima prefers to think of those canyons while sitting over a cup of hot coffee in my warm kitchen knowing that I no longer have chores to do out in the elements. Yes, I have become very soft and spoiled since those days, but my hands and feet can still ache from the frost bites, and I can still recall the discomfort we endured while doing both morning and evening chores in blatantly cold darkness.

During school, we didn’t even see the house in the daylight except on weekends and seemed to be a little hard put to get everything done before leaving and after returning. We didn’t have a flashlight most of the time because batteries were unavailable and just managed by guess and by gosh.

Fortunately, the trail to the spring was short and level, so all we had to do was to break the ice, fill the buckets, and dash back to the house, but the trail to the cow lot was on a slope and required much attention as to the placement of each foot if we didn’t want to land on the ground in a heap. I remember starting out with warm water in the milk bucket in order to avoid shocking the cows with my cold hands.

Rarely was it even tepid by the time I needed it, and I’d be ready to be kicked off the milk stool almost immediately. By then, my temper was already a little short because the calf would probably have nicked my knuckles while I was trying to get him away from his mother long enough for me to do the milking. I’m sure Mother could hear me at the house as I yelled at my bovine friends, but she had her own chores to finish, and Dad had already ridden out of hearing distance.

If the cow didn’t kick over the bucket by the time I had finished, I’d carry the milk down to the house so Mother could strain it, and I could stand beside the stove for a few minutes before eating one of her wonderful breakfasts. Hot biscuits and gravy were major comfort food to prepare us for the long ride to school. We’d blow out the lamps, leave before sunrise, and light them again upon our return in the evening. We’d perform the same chores but carry a few extra “turns” of water for our baths and bring in arm loads of wood, fill the lamps, and sit around the table to listen to the radio for a few minutes before going to bed in those unheated bedrooms under tons of quilts.

All of those activities were all in a day’s work, and I’m very glad I was privileged to have those experiences at an early age so I can just reflect upon them at this late age. Aching hands and feet serve as reminders, but I can get them warm in a hurry today and just enjoy the memories.

If the cow didn’t kick over the bucket by the time I had finished, I’d carry the milk down to the house so Mother could strain it, and I could stand beside the stove for a few minutes before eating one of her wonderful breakfasts. Hot biscuits and gravy were major comfort food to prepare us for the long ride to school. We’d blowout the lamps, leave before sunrise, and light them again upon our return in the evening.

We’d perform the same chores but carry a few extra “turns” of water for our baths and bring in arm loads of wood, fill the lamps, and sit around the table to listen to the radio for a few minutes before going to bed in those unheated bedrooms under tons of quilts. All of those activities were all in a day’s work, and I’m very glad I was privileged to have those experiences at an early age so I can just reflect upon them at this late age. Aching hands and feet serve as reminders, but I can get them warm in a hurry today and just enjoy the memories.