Winter snow morphs image of old auto

Published 10:34 pm Friday, February 26, 2010

The television weatherman said something that I’m not sure I believe.

He said that, in recorded weather history, the winter of 2010 has been the sixth coldest in a hundred and thirty-something years.

Well, evidently the record keeper didn’t grow up during my childhood when ice spewed from the ground and icicles hung from the eaves of the houses. Neither did he have to shovel coal or draw kerosene from a metal drum to try to heat the house.

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And, I would guess that he never got a spit bath in front of the fireplace and found the bath water frozen in the tin pan the next morning.

I bet he never stood, ready and waiting, for his mama to say, “Run” so he could make a beeline for the bed with her right behind him with a blanket she had warmed in front of the fire. So, he would not have known how it felt to crawl onto icy sheets and then have his mama wrap that warm blanket round his feet.

Winters like that add to more than six.

Just ask any member of the older generation who is suffering from back problems that probably resulted from sleeping on a cotton mattress with 29 quilts piled on top in an effort to stay halfway warm on winter nights. Ask them about the bunions from stuffing feet, cloaked in three pairs of socks, into shoes not made to contain such a wad.

Winters like that add up to more than six.

But I must admit that this has been a cold winter. I’ve even worn a coat a few times. I love winter and, as Robert Frost said, “the beauty of bare November days.”

And, there’s nothing as cozy as sitting by a crackling fire with a cup of hot chocolate – made with milk – on a cold winter’s night.

And, this year we were blessed with about five inches of snow so the winter of 2010 will be one that will be forever recorded in the memory of most Pike Countians.

A light snow makes everything bright and beautiful, and I couldn’t wait to ride the roads less traveled to see the transformation of the countryside.

Sis rode shotgun and Bannie took the backseat driver’s position.

“Don’t go down there. We’ll get stuck. Don’t get off the paved road. You’d better not ….”


My grandson and I have a motto, If it ain’t an adventure, it ain’t worth doing.”

Adventure was just down the snow-covered dirt road.

We could only drive the farm road so far, and then we had to walk. The beauty of the woodlands, the open pastures, the ice-crusted pond and the snow-laced bushes — and even the snow-topped briars — took my breath away. So did the long trudge back uphill to the car.

I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly when Maybelle spun in her tracks.

“I told you we were going to get stuck!”

“I told you! I told you! I told you!” The echo was endless.

Maybelle would not budge.

This was my idea, my car, my fault and my problem.

By the look on Sis’ face, I knew it was not a good idea to ask her to get out and push. “You steer.”

I petitioned the Lord for a little help.

Bannie and I pushed, and Maybelle would pirouette ever so slightly. At each icy pause, Sis’ face would contort into the look a mother gives a child just the instant before she kills him.

Maybelle finally spun loose and headed straight for a stand of pines. I held my breath. She stopped inches away from “barking” up a tree.

God is good.

Back on the paved road, lightheartedness and kindness returned to my passengers.

“Don’t ever get rid of Maybelle,” they said with sincere appreciation. “Not after all you’ve put her through. Don’t ever get rid of her.”

The next day the snow melted and all things made beautiful were back to normal.

The dent in Maybelle’s hood was showing, the paint was peeling and her bumper was sagging. I knocked the mud off her tires and climbed behind the wheel with pride.

Maybelle had pulled a snow job on my friends, and she’s here to stay. They said so.

And, they can never make fun of her again.