MAILBOXES AND OLD BARNS — Sunday Open Forum
Here is another episode of Mailboxes and Old Barns brought to you by our very own emmajeri1010
We weren’t frustrated by winter because we didn’t try to evade it. Winters on our farm during the 1950’s featured *unheated second floor bedrooms with light snow cover on the blankets in the morning; frozen rabbit turd collections* in the wheelbarrow, *shotguns in the moonlight and kittens in the barn. The cattle required extra work during storms: if it got real bad, over a hundred head of beef would be packed into the barn so they wouldn’t freeze to death. The big red barn was so cozy and smelled so bad when we had to do that. (*Details another time!)
Winter storm details don’t fill my memories, but I remember winter storm feelings: security…coziness…and fun. The worse the storm, the more unusual things Mom would allow to keep us busy: ping-pong in the dining room, roller-skating in the basement, playing grocery store in the kitchen. Besides that, a really good storm had this payoff: we could count on great tobogganing after the system which had come out of the west from Idaho, or perhaps down from Saskatchewan, went on its way to North Dakota or Wyoming.
The best toboggan ride is directly south of the farmyard on a square half-mile of open pasture where the flat, packed snow has a thick crunchy surface that sparkles in the sun. On this day my brother (two years older) and I decide to increase the level of difficulty by riding the toboggan standing up. He stands near the back, holding the rope like the reins of a horse and it’s up to me, standing in front of him with nothing to hold on to, to maintain my footing freestyle. Of course, in this configuration we have no way to steer but since we haven’t thought of that, we aren’t concerned. So….here we go.
Halfway down the hill a large piece of metal sticks 10-15 inches out of the snow. Oh, no. It’s a toboggan magnet. Oh! No! Well, there’s nothing for it: we’re clipping along! Whooshing toward the toboggan magnet which is frozen into the Montana sod, we hit it with a thunk, coming to a STOP. I’m first down~~hitting amidships and landing very hard on the curved front of the toboggan and~~bonus for him~~breaking his fall. I wonder if I’m broken inside. It’s so hard to breathe. He heads down the hill and leaves me where I landed—draped over the nose of the toboggan.
He has to make a report at the house, 10 minutes away. (It is his responsibility to go and report. It’s my responsibility not to make a fuss.) I make it to my feet and somewhat shakily arrive in the house in time to hear his summary statement: “I don’t know what’s wrong with her. She’s just laying there groaning.”
Now, at the time, twelve year old brothers weren’t likely to get caught worrying about ten year old sisters. But later that evening, I see him sneaking a look at me to see if I really am ok.
Because of enforced down-time due to DH’s hip replacement surgery, the snowy and stormy beginning of our 2010 winter has felt different, less stressful. Now I realize why: we haven’t felt any compulsion to try to evade winter. We’re just sitting here watching it. What are you doing with winter: Evading? Watching? Resisting? Enjoying?