Thursday, January 12, 2012

It's Cold Out There

We've had a few rather cold days lately, nothing like some I remember from my youth though. The picture below reminds me of the place where picked up our mail.  There were four mail boxes, one was ours, one was Uncle Harlan's, one was John Roberts', and the other one was Earl Findlay's, our neighbors. They were located on the corner where Uncle Harlan and his family lived.

 Long before A Christmas Story, the movie, or Dumb and Dumber  were released, sticking our tongues to frozen poles or mail boxes was something many kids in the cold Bear Lake Valley did and, with no disrespect to the movie, none of them cried!  I do remember one time when we were all waiting for the school bus over by Uncle Harlan's corner, Ellis decided to show us how brave he was. He stuck his tongue on the frozen mailbox and just then the bus arrived.  It's a wonder he made it to school that day.  I've always appreciated  and looked up to my big brother, Ellis, but fortunately I didn't follow in every one of his foot steps.  The picture below is not Ellis, you'll get the picture though.  I must admit I had visions of him still stuck to the mailbox when the bus brought us home from school that afternoon.  It was not to be.  He rescued himself in the nick of time.  He probably left a little meat on the pole, but he made it to school.

I remember several very severe cold spells.  One of them happened the winter after I came home from my mission.  Reed was a senior in High School.  Dad and Mom had decided to take the train down to Waco, Texas where Ellis was stationed in the Air Force and where he and his family lived.  Reed and Mark were left to take care of the chores.  Though it was in March a severe cold front moved in.  The temperatures dropped to about 40 degrees below zero.   I came home from college to help with the chores that particular weekend.  After the milking was done I went down to the slough to chop a hole in the ice so that the cows could get a drink of water.  That was a common practice.  The spot where the drinking hole was must have been fed by a small underground spring or seep because it usually didn't have a heavy coat of ice on it.  Sadly this time one of the cows walked out a little to far and fell through the ice.  It wasn't many minutes before we and she were fighting for her life.  We hurriedly got the tractor and a chain and tried to pull her out.  Things didn't go well.  Finally, we did get her out of the water, but in a very short time the cow had died.  In that extreme temperature and wet there was not a chance.  She died and there was not a thing we could do about it.  We were very discouraged and were concerned about the loss of one of the best milk cows in the herd,  When Dad and Mom got home, they were of course saddened by the loss, but were grateful it wasn't even worse.  Farming and especially dealing with livestock in such a cold climate was a difficult undertaking.  After a time it seemed to harden a person in a certain way, so that we learned to shrug it off and go on hoping for a  better day.
I think it was experiences and pictures like this that gave me such a deep appreciation for a roaring fire in the stove, which we enjoyed for so many years.

Posted by Bart

1 comment:

  1. It is cold, but we have it much better than back then. I love reading your memories. and..... I love you.