Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A gift

My Aunt Pat - my dad's sister - sent a wonderful surprise! She kept all the letters my mom and dad wrote to her. Many of them are from when they first moved to the farm.

Let me give you a taste of the winter mom and dad went through in 1978. Ready?! My mom wrote:

"The latest blizzard was unbelievable. The wind gusted up to 60 mph and we got 24 inches of snow. It was so deep it took Jack an hour to walk home from the barn the first morning. He was completely exhausted - I was afraid for him when I saw him. He went right out to feed the calves and after about 10 minutes I couldn't see or hear him and I got worried. So I went out to see if he was okay and I could hardly get out to our barn. It was so frightening! I had to crawl over the drifts and my face was freezing. The thought went through my mind that nobody knew I was out there and the kids were all in here alone and what if Jack had collapsed? Anyway, he was okay, but after my short miserable experience outside I couldn't see how he could have walked all the way from the dairy barn. He walked back for the pm milking, intending to walk home again at night. I couldn't imagine him trying it in the dark but I couldn't change his mind. But after walking back to the barn he decided it'd be crazy ... it was just terrific work trudging through the snow. So he stayed at Al's for the next two days until they plowed the road. I was afraid that first night I was alone that the power would go off with the strong winds. So I went out and carried in all the wood that was chopped. Then that night I broke both bows off my glasses. Gage and Carla had bad colds and kept waking up and I was afraid they'd get really sick. But nothing bad happened."

I remember my mom and dad talking about that winter when dad had to walk to the barn because the roads weren't plowed and he couldn't get over to feed and milk the cows. So he walked through the drifts - a mile. And I have real proof here in my hands! It's not just a pretend story about going uphill both ways! (Unless this is one elaborate ruse ...)

We live much closer to the barns in this house - the house my dad stayed at when he couldn't make it back home. Kris walks to work sometimes for fun. He could've done it today, because it was pretty warm and nice ... but my parents farmed for 30 years. How many of these Little House on the Prairie winters do we have ahead of us?

Who knows? I like my mom's attitude in the letter - "Nothing bad happened." True. The cattle were still taken care of; everyone was fine.

Kris changed a bearing in the mixer yesterday. He said that the old bearing came out easily, and the new one went in easily. When things go well, it's so nice to be surprised!

I won't be surprised by harsh winters. I know they're coming someday. But little things - like an easy bearing, a mild January, and an unexpected gift in the mail - are always welcome.


Anonymous said...

About those letters - I read several and had forgotten so many of the things I wrote about over the years. But I didn't forget those harsh winters and I remember the trauma of breaking my glasses at a time when we were snowed in and I couldn't get them fixed! I LOVE this mild winter we're having now!

Jack said...

Oh, the good old days. May they be gone forever. I don't think you have to worry about facing any "Little House on the Prairie" winters in the future. Al Gore has assured me (and the rest of the free world) that we have only heat and misery to look forward to. Coming from someone who claimed to have invented the internet, we have to take this seriously--at least as seriously as his claim.

the crew said...

Oh, I love this post and the comments! :) I actually thought as I was reading this, "this sounds like an excerpt from the 'Little House on the Prairie' books!"
Your family is awesome. And glad to hear you are recovering!