Hurray for the Fun is the Pudding Done

These 40+ year old sleds are completely origin...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I was a little girl, summer lasted an eternity. I thought school would never start again. Once school started, I looked for snow.

Before I went to bed, I knelt in front of Mom and her part-knitted mittens going round and round on four needles for the next kid who poked a thumb through last year’s.  Mom was a knitting maniac.

Way away in the spring I was gonna make my first communion, so I practiced the Act of Contrition kneeling down in front of Mom and her knitting. The Act of Contrition is the prayer I had to say after I confessed all my sins and had my soul scrubbed clean for Jesus. It’s a special pray to say you’re really sorry for all the bad things you did or might be planning to do, and you promise with all your heart to keep away from sinning and not to even think about it. Prayers say things fancy for God. I had to say, “Oh my God, I am heartily sorry, for having offended thee,” instead of just “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings, God.”  I guessed God likes fancy words.

My friend Beth got to pray with her own words.  She was Methodist. If I could do that, I’d pray for snow, that’s for sure. Anyways, I had to say fancy words like “I detest all my sins, because of Thy just punishment.” Being Catholic sure was good for the vocabulary.  Mom said God knows what everybody needs.  No sense in bothering him, if he already knows everything.  He’s different from Santa, who only knows Continue reading

The Frost is on the Thanksgiving

These 40+ year old sleds are completely origin...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I was a little girl, summer lasted an eternity. I thought school would never start again. Once school started, I looked for snow.

Before I went to bed, I knelt in front of Mom and her part-knitted mittens going round and round on four needles for the next kid who poked a thumb through last year’s.  Mom was a knitting maniac.

Way away in the spring I was gonna make my first communion, so I practiced the Act of Contrition. That’s the prayer I had to say after I confessed all my sins and had my soul scrubbed clean for Jesus. The Act of Contrition is how you say you’re really sorry for all the bad things you did or might be planning to do, and you promise with all your heart to keep away from sinning and not to even think about it. Prayers say things fancy for God. I had to say, “Oh my God, I am heartily sorry, for having offended thee,” instead of just “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings, God.”  God liked fancy words.

My friend Beth got to pray with her own words.  She was Methodist. If I could do that, I’d pray for snow, that’s for sure. Anyways, I had to say fancy words like “I detest all my sins, because of Thy just punishment.” Being Catholic sure was good for the vocabulary.  Mom said God knows what everybody needs, so no sense of bothering him.  He’s different than Santa, who only knows Continue reading

Shut the Door! It’s Drafty

My mother always complained about being cold.  Not me.  I went barefoot all year.  Never outside, of course.  Still, I never wore socks unless Mom needled me until I relented and put them on.  She needled me about staying warm a lot:  wear your snow-pants, put on a hat, get your boots on, and most of all:  close the door.

I lived in a drafty, old house, on top of a hill.  Nobody had wall-to-wall carpeting back then.  We had a carpet in the fronch-room, and linoleum everywhere else.  Mom said our house was drafty on account of all the long, low windows.  I never noticed the drafts; I loved those windows:  wavy glass, and painted in ropes that I imagined once operated the shutters outside.  Teacher said glass is a liquid, just a very slow flowing liquid.  I saw what she meant, ’causes the glass in our windows had little air pockets and was way thicker and swirlier at the bottom, down by the sill.  Sure some cold air came in, but it had to be warmer than the brown paper dipped in wax that Teacher said the pilgrims used for windows.  Teacher knew a whole lot of stuff that Mom never even considered.

Mom said when she was younger, she was just like me.  She never wanted to wear snow-pants under her dress, even when her Mom said she should.  Sometimes she just carried them, so Grandma would get off her back.  If I was Mom, I would have worn snow-pants all the time, on account of the unpredictable underpants girls wore back when she was young.  A girl could be just walking along, minding her own business, and next thing she knew, her panties were down around her ankles.  Wear snow-pants and nobody would know when your panties let-loose.  I guessed Mom was less of a problem solver when she was a kid.

Anyways, Mom got caught downtown in the dead of winter because of a blizzard or a flood that made all the buses stopped running.  She walked and walked, freezing her legs about off, just wishing she had her snow-pants on.  All the stores closed on account of the emergency so she couldn’t even get in anywhere warm.  She had to walk all the way home, which was probably over five miles, ’cause when somebody had to walk somewhere back in the olden days, it was almost always at least five miles and usually up hill.  That’s how far Dad had to walk to school.  Mom rode buses most the time, ’cause she lived in the city and that’s how kids got around.

When I was a little girl and Mom was old, she still knew all about getting around on busses, even though we lived in the country.  Once she dropped me and Deanna off at Smith Bridgeman’s and told us to get on the bus right outside the store and go to the end of the line, where she would pick us up.  I didn’t even know what an “end of line” was, so I got all jittery in the stomach.  “Honestly,” she said.  “I went everywhere on the bus, when I was your age.  You can Continue reading

Slippery Through the Ice

Dad and his brothers were fine story-tellers.   Uncle Glenn told me how the bunch of them caught Catfish  in the river near their house.   Uncle Gerald, the youngest of the brothers, loved that fish, named it Blue, and taught it tricks.  Uncle Gerald even trained that fish to walk on dry land and roll over and beg like a dog.  Grandma wanted to cook that Catfish up for dinner, but Uncle Gerald cried so hard, she didn’t have the heart to do it.  He kept Blue around in a bucket of river water for a few day, and then one morning the pail was empty:  the fish got so good at walking on dry land, it up and walked back to the river.  Anytime Uncle Glenn told that story, Uncle Gerald would nod in agreement, and one of the six brothers would say, “Yup, that Blue was the smartest fish I ever saw.”  Six sets of blue eyes sparkled like stars and six lips pulled up in the corner in almost the exact, same way.  Aunt Barbara just looked down at her folded hands and shook her head, then the corner of her lip started to twitch up too.  My uncles were darned good story-tellers, and they never let on which parts were true and which were tall tales.

I caught myself a pet fish when I was a little girl.  As near as I can tell, this story is all true.  Still, I was a very little girl, almost before memories had language.  I caught that fish on the one and only time I remember ice-fishing outside a cabin at a lake I barely recall.

Mom bundled me up in woolen snow pants, coat, hat and mittens.  She pushed and prodded to help me with my red rubber boots; I stamped down hard to push the last couple inches of my heel my boot.  In a few short years, I’d be helping Little Kids the same way Mom helped me then, but of course Continue reading

Come Fly with Me

When I was a little girl, one of the best winter past times was tobogganing.  I never got cold going up and down that hill.  Mom and Dad took us to a special hill that seemed almost like a mountain: a hill with no name attached, a hill that I can no longer find, a hill where I could fly like the wind.

Getting ready was the hard part:  putting on woolen snow-pants and coats; scarves underneath and knitted hats and mittens.  I sure was happy Mom put those strings on my mittens, ’cause I never had to worry about finding them; a mitten in each sleeve, just dangling there waiting for my hands.  Somebody shoulda came up with something like that for hats.  Hats were a lot harder to keep track of then mittens. Last, I pulled my rubber boots over my shoes and fastened the elastic string around the button at the side.  Man-o-man,  those boots were hard to get on.  Sometimes, my foot went in crooked and the boot stuck, refusing to go on or pull off.  The only thing worse than that was trying to help a Little Kid get his boots on, with his leg all dangly and useless; pointing when it should go straight, ankles all wobbly.

Finally, everybody was ready.  Mom even got baby Julie all bundled up so tight, she just looked like a bundle of blankets:  first the receiving blanket all swaddled around tight.  Then she wrapped one of those fuzzy blankets with the silky binding around tight, Julie in the middle and Continue reading