Thursday, January 29, 2015

"Snow" Back Thursday

One of the most popular posts on Facebook is Throwback Thursday. People usually post photos taken in their younger years, which is a fun way of creating an online gallery of their lives. In honor of the Snow Blizzard that bore down on my home state of New York this week, I thought I thought I’d share some “snow” back memories from my years growing up in the Empire State. 

I spent the first six years of my life in a very small town (maybe 300 people) one mile from the Canadian border in upper New York State.  Winter was always a challenging time for my family, but as a kid I enjoyed it thoroughly. Even in the winter I loved to play with my cousins on my grandparents’ front porch. The snow dripping from the roof onto the porch overhang would refreeze at night and produce amazing stalactite and stalagmite icicles as big as six inches around and three or four feet long. We would break off a length of ice to hold in our mittens to suck on and sometimes to use as a sword. We totally ignored the taste of roof soot in our Popsicle.

The annual Sugar Social at the Methodist Church was a much anticipated event. In March when the maple sap was rising in the trees, it was collected in buckets, then boiled down to make thick syrup. Fresh snow was gathered in big metal pans and the syrup was poured on the snow instantly making maple syrup taffy—a delicious treat. 

I fought many battles from the snow forts I helped to construct. A mound of snowballs was stored for the inevitable snowball fight that would follow. It was mostly the boys against the girls and sometimes I was on the winning side.

I moved away from that rural lifestyle and eventually ended up in Georgia where snow is an exception and not the rule. One winter I returned to the place of my birth to visit my father who was very sick with cancer. The closest airport to my small town was several hours away, so my sister and I had to drive on icy roads to reach our destination. Snow drifts covered all the surrounding farmland as far as my eye could see. The full moon rose over the horizon and cast an ethereal glow on the snow laden fields. It was a beautiful sight and a much needed reminder of God’s beauty in the midst of human suffering.

Here’s hoping for snow this year in Georgia—enough to shut down the roads for a few days, but not enough to affect the power lines. The world will stop and peace and quiet will prevail until the temperature rises again. 

A Bible verse about snow:  Isaiah 55:10-11 "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Chills, Pills & Bills

Hal Borland, Author and New York Times journalist once said:

“Summer is a promissory note signed in June,
Its long days spent and gone before you know it,
and due to be repaid next January.”

With the temperatures in the single digits and the flu knocking on our door, I wished I had bottled the blue skies and warm temperatures of last year’s June and saved it for this year’s January. A friend posted on Facebook that she wasn't leaving her house until the temperature exceeded her age. I responded that I would see her in May.

The last time I ventured out in the bitter cold was to take my late bloomer husband to “urgent care” and then to the drugstore to stand in line for our doses of Tamiflu. He's sick but I am taking the anti-viral as preventative medication. After all somebody has to make the Chicken Soup.

 January is normally one of my favorite months of the year. The short-cold days are really a blessing enabling me to concentrate on my ought-to-do list. After the busyness of the holidays, I like to regroup and organize my dysfunctional house. The pantry, drawers, and closets are badly in need of being cleaned out. The problem is deciding what comes first. There is so much to do, I am easily distracted and flit from one project to another. As a result nothing gets done completely—just enough that I can call it quits and live with the mess a while longer.

One of my biggest chores is organizing our 2014 bills and paperwork so that we can begin estimating our quarterly taxes. I’d rather get a root canal and the cost wouldn't be much different. Then I get to shred a box full of papers containing personal information. My office will look like it snowed in there by the time I’m done.

My foremost desire for 2015 involves two more rhyming words: "Quills" and "Stills." I want to pick up my “Quill” and finish writing my latest book, then organize the boxes of “Stills” begging to be put into scrapbooks and digitized.  But first I shall turn on the fireplace, fix a cup of hot tea, and enjoy the “Thrill” of having a warm house and the good health to enjoy all the blessings of January.