I was sick. There was a new baby at home. No one wanted the baby to get the cold I had. The decision was made to send me away. For me, that was a wonderful decision. I was sent away to my Granma’s. She was the most kind and loving person in my life. She was also strict, but consistant and you knew the boundaries and learned early on to respect them. After that, there were no problems.
Granma and Granpa had a television, we didn’t. It was no hardshop for me to not be home. Granma let me turn my little wooden chair upside down so the back would be at an angle to the floor. Against this incline I placed a pillow and had a center room seat for the TV. Since my siblings were not there, I got to decide which children’s morning shows I would watch. Granma didn’t care, she was in the kitchen doing something.
The afternoons stretched long when there were no children’s programs on TV. But one afternoon we had a different form of excitement that I’ve never forgotten sixty-some years later. I was sick during the winter. In winters we often had snow, the snow was not always the same. Even I knew that as young as I was then. Very often the “snow” was mostly bits of ice that was no fun at all. Other times, it was just simply snow. But, on some rare days, when atmospheric conditions were just right, the snow came down as huge “fluffly” flakes. That was exciting snow. It was that kind of snow wich came that afternoon.
Outside the living room windows, not far from the house, were several red cedar trees dark, dark green, almost black in their winter dormant state. They formed the perfect background contrast to the snow. Not only did the flakes stand out against the dark branches, but the thick cedar needles held the snow as it piled and accumulated on the branches. I was entranced. I recognized this snow was excitingly different. I eagerly spent the afternoon watching this snow fall. It was constant fascination.
I don’t remember how much snow fell, but Granpa would go in an out, to get mail, feed the chicken and gather the eggs, and other farm chores. One chore was to throw wood in through a basement window to feed the furnace. Upstairs, we could hear the “chunk” of the cut wood hitting the cement floor, or the wood already down there. He knocked off as much snow as he could, and down in the basement the rest melted off and evaporated from the heat of the furnace. On really cold nights, we all slept in the big bed down there near the furnace. They didn’t try to heat the whole house, nor heat it all night long. Cold air never hurt anyone if you’re snuggled up in bed!
I didn’t know it then, but my German cousins would, at night, turn off the heaters in the bedrooms in winter, and open the windows. Sleeping with windows closed, any time of year, was not healthy! I and my sons would later survive that too!
So, on those rare winter days, when we have the huge fluffy snow flakes, I remember that brief winter of bliss when I was sick and spent the time at Granma’s.