As I look out my bedroom window this morning, the sky is clear before sunrise. The ground is laden with frost, delivering the message winter is coming.
For some reason the look of the morning has me thinking of the cold days of my childhood. How I miss that old thick stew my mother made, or those hearty home made soups that tasted so good when you came in at the end of the day from skating or sleigh riding.
I remember the hot cereal steaming in the bowl and rising to the old farmhouse ceiling. Those were the days vegetables came from the garden in season. The fruit and pickles were canned and stored in the pantry. I remember some were set aside. The baby dills and certain jars of fruit were reserved for Christmas.
For those not old enough to remember all this fuss about the canning of preserves was more than a labor of love. For many it determined the state of the winter food supply. One of my favorite memories is the scent of fresh baked cookies when I got home from school. I can hear my mother in the background saying “Don’t spoil your supper and save some for your sisters.”
It’s mornings like this that take your mind back to a simpler time that never existed. Those times were hard times for most but they were what shaped us into who we eventually became. We are the last of the generations that could survive anything and adapt to any situation life thrusts upon us. I say that because we were the generation that bridged the gap between the wood stove and the gas or electric stove.
We in some cases didn’t have refrigerators, we had a cold room and sometimes things were tucked away in the porch. I remember the old tub on the kitchen floor for the Saturday night bath too. We didn’t consider it a hard life it is the way it was.
This morning I recall an episode of piling the last of the wood on a frosty morning like this. I wasn’t overjoyed piling wood. My father said something I never forgot.
“Always do the chores you least like first and get them out of the way, and learn to do any chore you are given, your best effort. Those who can do many things well are the ones who survive tough times,”
Come to think of it I would give all I have to bite into one of moms fresh baked cookies, or for that matter I would love to pile wood with my dad.