• Last modified 841 days ago (March 6, 2019)



© Another Day in the Country

This is quite a cold spell that we’re enduring in Kansas. I woke up this morning to frozen pipes!

“Don’t forget to let the faucets drip,” my sister had cautioned me; but I hated to waste all that water that can drip away while I’m sleeping. I’d just gone through that “waste of water” problem with a leaking toilet that rocketed my water bill, and I wasn’t too keen to have anything dripping on purpose.

“I’ll do one,” I said to myself, “in the kitchen sink very, very slowly.” So, I’ve got water, hot, in the kitchen. That’s it.

One thing I know for sure: when it thaws, I’ll be so thrilled to climb into a shower and wash my hair. It will seem like the height of luxury right along with flushing toilets — that we all take for granted these days!

It’s been feeling cold inside as well as outside. It seems silly because the temperature is still set at 68 degrees like it always is — we’d consider that balmy on a spring day — yet somehow it seems chilly with snow on the ground.

This kind of chill calls for comfort clothes. I’ve had on the same turtleneck sweater for three days straight. I’ve even worn it to bed at night under my pajamas. There’s something so comforting about the high soft neck that nestles under my chin and the long enough sleeves that cover my wrists and I just don’t want to take it off.

My mother used to tell tales about her father who she swore put on his long underwear at Thanksgiving and didn’t take them off until Easter. I used to be duly thrilled, as a child, hearing that a grown-up could get by with this kind of thing. I longed for the day when I’d be grown up enough myself that I could put on the same clothes day after day and no one could tell me otherwise.

I remember the days when wintertime meant long, nasty brown cotton socks that I had to wear. I hated those socks and the attempt to keep them up. Thank goodness for the invention of sweat pants, leotards, and leggings — I live in them!

Not all that long ago, the thrill I’d be seeking on a winter day with fresh snow on the ground would be sledding! There have been quite a few winters when we didn’t have the chance to go sledding because of the lack of snow. During those years, waiting for enough snow, something changed.

Instead of grabbing the sled and the rope to tie up behind the pickup, I find myself being more cautious. Gasping in cold air, rolling off the sled into a snowbank, and flying around the corners doesn’t seem quite so thrilling this year for some reason. In fact, I find myself navigating the trek to the chicken house with extreme caution — granny steps, testing for ice.

The other evening we went out to Kristina’s to play a few more rounds of Jokers and Pegs, and when we came outside to drive home, their porch and railing was covered with ice. While my team was getting beat, Kansas was playing games with the weather. “Let’s have snow!” Mother Nature said, “but throw in a little rain and sleet, just for kicks, and now it’s going to get colder, again!”

Once upon a time, I would have slid across that patio with glee and laughed with abandon if I fell on my seat — those thrill-seeking days are over. The big thrill for us, that evening, was that LeeRoy had sneaked out to the truck and started it for us so it was all warm and toasty when we got in to drive home.

The next big thrill was that there were no trains on the tracks leading into Ramona so we could actually get into town and home again, home again!

When I was a little girl growing up in western Kansas, hills were a thrilling thing to see as we drove along in the car. “Speed up, daddy,” I’d plead when a steeper hill would loom on the horizon. I wanted him to go faster so that when we came over the crest of the hill and descended, my stomach would also descend as if I were on a roller coaster — or at least what I imagined a roller coaster to be like. It was thrilling.

I discovered soon enough that all roller coasters weren’t as thrilling as I’d imagined. Some were downright frightening. As human technology for thrill seeking got more and more inventive, I decided I’d had enough thrills with those kinds of roller coasters where it’s not just your stomach lurching with pleasure but the fear that your head might fly off with the momentum.

Thrills are still on my agenda — they’ve just downsized. Until the thaw, I’ll content myself with the thrill of curling up under a cozy blanket with a good book on another day in the country.

Last modified March 6, 2019