I love this time of the year. It has been documented in other columns I have written. A few months ago the weatherman hinted that there was a chance of frost in the “outlying areas.” That's where I live.
Just before midnight I walked outside into the night. When the air is bordering on frost, it has a certain “feel” to it. The air had that “feel”. I smiled to myself. It was exhilarating.
It is the time of year to think of wool socks and pants, flannel shirts, vests, sweaters, lined jackets, and warm caps. It's also time to try to remember where you stored the long underwear last spring.
My father was a great believer in long underwear. He wore them from the first of August until the end of May. He wore the white thermal-knit kind. And he wore them until you could see through them. When he was finished with a pair, they weren't even good for dust rags. He literally wore them out.
He loved a good, warm wool cap, too, the kind with ear flaps. When the weather gets cold, I think of him.
My grandfather Brim warmed his house with a wood fire. In the earliest day I remember, the fireplace was big and open. It required a big backlog. I recall popping popcorn over that fire. The popcorn popper was a screen-wire box about the size of a cigar box. It had a solid bottom made of tin. The box was attached to a stick much like a mop handle. You poured the popcorn in the popper and heated it over the flames. I've popped a lot of popcorn over an open fire. It was not the best popcorn, certainly not buttered. But it would go down mighty fine with a Nehi.
Every fall my grandfather drove from Riddleton to Willette in Macon County to get a load of cook stove wood. A sawmill owner there cut hardwood slabs into eighteen-inch pieces for him. He would return with his 1951 GMC pick-up truck bed stacked high.
I have watched him for hours as he took his “little” ax and split those pieces of slabs into two-inch wide sticks of wood. It made for ideal fuel for my grandmother's wood stove.
About this time of year I get a hankering for splitting some wood. I don't know, I guess it's in my bones. I guess I've sat before too many fires.
I'll fire up my fireplace soon. I like everything about a fire, getting one started, keeping it going, the smell, and the “feel” of the fire on my face
And when the weather starts getting cold, I look forward to the feel of a good, warm bed. I like a cold room and lots of covers. The thought of that takes me back to winters when I slept in a feather bed in the Brim Hollow. The room was cold and the quilts lay heavy. I've waked up on many a morning feeling sore from the weight of the bed covers. Talk about a cold room - my nose felt like an icicle.
I've also waked up to find a narrow line of snow lying on the floor from where it had blown in around the window frame.
Cold rooms make you appreciate a warm bed. When I got of bed I hurried to the kitchen and the warmth of the cook stove.
So get out those extra blankets and quilts and all those things that will help keep you warm in the coming days.
Speaking of keeping warm, there's hardly a feeling that compares with feeling nice and warm when it's cold outside. It makes me think of the coming holidays - Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day - a time to gather with friends and family and share the warmth of their love.
But even that doesn't compare with warming by the fire of God's love.
May you find warmth from the cold in the coming days.
Copyright 2008 by Jack McCall