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Winter Storm & Reminiscences

It's been so quiet here, that I think those of you who are further west than us [except the southerners] must be involved in the widespread stormy weather.  Hopefully, things are not too bad for you, powerwise & otherwise, as well.  If you have a laptop, then you already know about goint to Panera, or some such to use it-----& so, to stay in the loop-----or get your fix for the day [both cyber & hot coffee]. 

We had just a bit of snow late Thurs.-----well, 6 to 12, depending on who you talked to.   Got home as it was starting, but, when I tried to go out later, my car really really wanted to turn around & go home, so after a couple of miles, I did.   Then, yesterday, I tried again, & things were fine-----well, not quite, but getting there.  Today, it will be cold & sunny, which I love. 

At the cemetery, I found 2 layers of crust beneath about 10 inches of snow, so it was 'fun' pulling out the fall flowers [silk] that I forgot were still there.  The wreath stand was frozen in nicely, so I just exchanged wreaths, held on, even in that windy field, with 3 twisties.   Small willow, home decorated, works better than large live, which gets coated with snow/ice, then blows over----always face down.  A wreath on a stand has more chance of not being completely buried by snow, but is, eventually.  Then, in mud season [that's the one before spring] it reappears sooner than ground flowers. 

Won't be able to walk in for several months, unless they plow or there's a firm crust on top.  It's just a small place----one can see it all from the road.  It's the corner of a large hayfield, with part of a cross-country ski 'track' marked by flags behind it.  This was the first month since last Feb. that I couldn't hear the stream across the road.  It opens early, while the rest of the landscape is still buried in snow.  It was very satisfying to my mother to pick this quiet rural spot, with a small chapel nearby.

Today is my father's birthday.  He would be 105, if he had lived.   As it was, he passed at 52-----barely more than half a lifetime as we look at it today, although, to his pioneer grandparents & great-grands, it would have seemed long.  He grew up in  an Illinois town of 150, but eventually went to Columbia U. Teachers' College in NYC for graduate work.  Then he taught history in Cleveland, but more important than that, he taught/nurtured boys/young men-----through depression/world war/beginnings of social upheaval.  So, when you wonder where my committment originates------that's where. 

Previously, I wrote about the live Christmas trees of my childhood.   Preparation for one began in the late fall, with the digging of the hole & filling it with leaves.  My father, raised on a farm but living his adult life in the city, had become a gardener of note, & this was one part of it.  People from all over brought their out-of-town guests to see our yard.   Even I became adept at presenting special features in the 'tour.'  He knew all about soil, & so, knew what to do with the spongy clay that predominated in the back.  A neighbor once had a gift to him delivered on the 'apron' [wide part] of the driveway-----a load of cow manure.   He was thrilled to have that to work in to his food garden, as well as other places.  Sand was kept in a frame in the garage, covered for protection from the cats next door.  Clay needs a lot of these 2 elements. 

Most gifts our family gave----to friends/teachers/neighbors------were from our garden-----not just veggies, but flowers, as well, espec. tuberose begonia blossoms, which were put into a glass dish or covered fruitshaped container on the mantle, previously presented to the family/person, & saved to be used again & again for the delight of a perfect blossom------not easy to find, as the bed of tuberose begonias was under the edge of the apple tree, a remnant of the farm which had preceded the homes on our road.   It was near the back of our deep lot----balanced in that orderly yard by a pear tree [same origin] across from it. 

One of his other interests was baseball.   In the times just before portables, he &  a neighbor would string out long cords with their old tabletop radios down the edges of the property, so they & the  Scotchman between them [no radio] could listen to the games, which were mostly in the afternoon.  When, amidst the static, the roar of the crowd could be heard, they ran & gathered at the nearest radio.   Of course, in hot weather, most gardening was done in the morning, but there were things to do in the afternoon in certain shady spots------or else the game was heard in the living room on the big 'console' radio.  When his friend [a physics teacher] built his own TV from a kit [wired circuits & tubes in those days], we visited & they watched the game, but listened to the sound on radio, since those broadcasters were more exciting than the initial ones on TV. 

Well, I'll save the rest for another time.   Good for me to recall all this-----& perhaps, it got you away from thinking about the storm for awhile. 


Evergreen Blanket

One time a florist told me about an evergreen 'blanket,' which is used to put over a new grave that doesn't have grass or snow over it.  This is sometimes studded with flowers here & there.  It's rectangular in shape & doesn't really cover the entire spot.  Is that what you mean?   CS

Re: Evergreen Blanket

I don't think so Carol.  From the pictures that were sent to me, this is upright with a very small area of it actually touching the ground.  Almost like a child's easel without the legs, but made of some type of evergreen.

Maybe I should just break down and ask a florist to tell me what it is & the purpose of it - maybe taking the pictures in to them.


Storms & cemetaries

We just got power back a short time ago, but my plan had actually been to head to the truckstop tonight, plug the laptop in, maybe use headphones & watch a DVD, let the cell recharge, etc.  We survived the 1st round of outages, but was caught by the melting ice here at our house.  Now 6-8" of snow on top of the ice today.

House never got below 65 degrees thanks to my having a gas stove & me putting large pots of water on it to heat.  But no C or D batteries to be found for a radio to ease the silence.  Plenty of candles here though - so did have light once I figured out how to use a cigarette lighter - would have given up smoking if I had of been one, I think!

Question for anyone - what would relatives mean when they say they take a mound to a grave at Christmas time?  I received a picture of one that was taken to my dad's grave, but had never heard the phrase before & so don't know what the purpose is of it.  It looks like a triangular shaped evergreen thing.


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