Sound of Sleet

It is once again sleeting…………I never thought that George and I would retire to a place where it sleets.  I must admit it is the one thing about living in Oklahoma I do not care for, but it is so rare an occurrence that it is negligible…………….I still adore living here. But I simply HATE the sight and sound of sleet!

The sleet always makes me remember the times in Tennessee when the kids were very small………..we lived in a tiny town called Cumberland Furnace, just northwest of Dickson and a couple of hours west of Nashville……………….we were in a “share-croppers” cabin…..literally.  This place was all we could afford on my tiny income as a receptionist for the Army….I had the great privilege of working with the Military police. While work was fine, the housing wasn’t.  The house was made of cinderblock, had two windows (neither one of which actually opened), a tiny wood stove for cooking and heating, and an outhouse.  Yep, a freakin outhouse!cinderblock

I got to stay in this “lovely” place so long as I worked on “fixin her up” for my landlord………………….he supplied all the stuff I was to install and I had to figure out how to install it. The MP’s were awfully handy when I had to do things like create a bathroom and dig a huge hole for the new septic system…………it took a bit of work but I had a functioning bathroom by November of the second year…………..and lost the entire thing by January!  We had a sleet and snow storm to beat the band in early December…………it got so cold that the kids were constantly bundled in sleeping bags for warmth…that poor cookstove could barely heat the kitchen much less get warmth into a bedroom or sitting room……….I managed to keep enough wood for the fire for a week, but by week two the wood was running out and the snow and ice wasn’t………..I remember chopping dead wood in the fields behind the house while praying the kids stayed inside their sleeping bags………….coming inside to check on them and bring in wood………….it was a horrible job, let me tell you!

The preacher from a local Free Will Baptist church came by to drop off a Christmas basket of food, blankets and a few toys for the kids, and a pair of gloves for me.  bro ronnies churchThose gloves were by far the very best gift I have ever received. Honestly if it weren’t for Brother Ronnie I doubt we would have survived that second winter. He taught me to bank a fire so it wouldn’t go out again, how to kill and skin game, how to find edible foods in the woods……how to fish and clean a danged fish. I hate fish….but it sure was nice to have it when all we had in the kitchen was a bag of black eyed peas and a bag of rice.

While he was there, I had him stay with the kids telling them the Christmas story while it was back to chopping logs for me…………I thought I had enough to last another week before I called it quits for the day.  That night though I was so exhausted I failed to wake up in time to restock that tiny stove with wood and the fire went out…………..and the toilet bowl froze……………as did the kitchen sink……………..

I woke to a house where I could see my breath………..after frantically checking on the kids (who were fine) I tried to get the wood stove going again………..it took a good hour during which I was sure my nose had frozen off…………Somehow we managed to survive that winter………….but the sound of sleet brings it back to me everytime. ……at least here I have a gas heater…………….and a gas stove……….so no matter if the electric goes out I will always be warm. And I am so very grateful!

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