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Chuck Hinman: IJMA. Winter Is Coming

Chuck Hinman: Winter Is Coming. Chuck lists things he misses about winters when he was a boy.
Next earlier Chuck Hinman column - A man named Bob

By Chuck Hinman

Winter Is Coming

It doesn't take a brain surgeon to notice that weather patterns have changed drastically in our lifetime. The most obvious change is that winters are no where near as cold as they used to be.

That is welcome news to those who wear shorts year around. I miss cold weather with snow and ice. "No, I am not part Eskimo." I was born and raised near Wymore, Nebraska, just 300 miles north of where I spent the last 65 years, mostly in Oklahoma. Mom said I was born in a Nebraska blizzard but that has nothing to do with my love of cold weather.

Chuck misses winter things

I miss these winter things: snow fences, farm ponds with ice a foot or more thick, ice skating with skates clamped to the soles of your shoes with a key, snow-ball fights behind huge snowball fortresses, making snow men families in the front yard that had red corn cob noses, our cows and horses huddling in a snow storm with snow on their eyebrows, Dad bringing in the house a newborn calf or runt of a litter of pigs to survive the cold in the critical days of their early life, making snow ice-cream for an after school snack, putting on snow tires, tire chains and/or lugs and the clanking noise they make when you hit a rare stretch of road not covered with snow and ice, someone knocking on your door who needed help from being stuck in a snowdrift, log chains 20 foot long -- everyone had one in their trunk, the coziness of cotton flannel sheets, the pee-pot under the bed, snuggling butt-to-butt (for warmth) with your brother who you will be fist-fighting when it gets warmer, "YOU PEE'D ON THE HANDLE -- YOU JERK!"

What happened to furry earmuffs and sheepskin lined jackets, car radiators freezing-up, Canadian geese honking and flying high overhead in a V-formation signaling the coming of winter or spring, spectacular purple sunsets, feisty snow birds, squirrel hunting for a red-meat supper, cutting wood when we weren't in school, the weird look of frozen laundry (particularly long johns) on the clothes line.

Chuck recalls home and family in winter

And who could forget the smell of Mom's potato soup with onion and celery salt cooking on the wood-burning stove when 'we men' came in from milking in the evening, the homemade mince meat pie to follow made with roast beef, hearing Dad cough and pass gas when he got up first to make a fire in the furnace for the comfort of the rest of the Hinman family, breakfast that would stick to your ribs and every where else, bacon and eggs, home made biscuits and bacon gravy, Dad would take turns holding us kids as he poured his last cup of cream-diluted coffee over a biscuit and let us kids share in this no-no treat as he had us wiggling and giggling when he stuck out his false teeth at close range! "Do me next Daddy, it's my turn!"

In retrospect it seemed bitter cold but we survived. It was American farm family life at its best!

Written by Chuck Hinman. 9 November 2007

Comments by readers

Three comments by 'Texas related' friends of Robert Stone which he sent on to Chuck.

From Bert Coble (music teacher and choir leader for many years, now 90 years old):
Robert, I remember it all. Coble
From Claude Gossett (musician):
Robert, I remember most all these identical things from my early days in Northern Oklahoma. Chuck writes good and I enjoy his stories very much.
From Carolyn Tumlinson (Texas friend involved with Make-A-Wish Foundation for children):
I LOVE THIS!!! So special to have fond memories of growing up and times past. As I'm reading this, my senses come alive... for I too, had similar experiences when I stayed with my Nanny and Granddaddy in West Texas.

This story was posted on 2013-10-20 01:03:59
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