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By Tamara November 2010

It’s November, and by now the gardens should be tilled under with plenty of chicken fertilizer to last ‘til spring, the herd brought to lower pastures, equipment stored in sheds and barns, and plenty of wood piled high near the door so you won’t freeze when dashing out for a couple of pieces during snowstorms that are fixin’ to come.
Time for indoor chores, and waxin’ those skis and sled runners for fun on the slopes. Oh, how much faster they fly down mountains and hills with a good waxin’!
I do miss the snowy fun of winter, but not shoveling my way out of the driveway every morning now that I’m gettin’ old, and my back creaks when I do far less exercise. The sun on my bones feels much better than cold blowin’ down my neck, up my back and coat sleeves on a windy day. But I have my memories of those good ol’ wintry days.
Did I tell ya about the winter of 1956 when we got ten feet of snow? That year, once it started, it just wouldn’t stop.
Now, bein’ a tomboy of eleven with two younger brothers to find interesting ways to play and enjoy every day out in the white fluff after school and on weekends, there wasn’t much we didn’t think of to do.
In the first place, it would snow a foot or two overnight, and while we were locked in a stuffy classroom during the day, the sun would come out and melt a nice icy crust on the top. This made for some great skiin’ on the level with sheds and out buildings. We’d walk, or ski right up even with the chicken coop roof, then flop down and get some rays when we got there. Then, we’d take turns leaping off into the deep stuff, diggin’ each other out after each jump. Guess it was most dangerous for our younger brother because he was only five at the time, and he could have floundered like the cattle did and smothered, but bein’ young and stupid, we never considered that, and somehow we came to no harm. (Yes, I do believe in ‘Guardian Angels’ thinkin’ back on some of the stuff we did without gettin’ hurt or killed.)
We’d also walk on top of the snow to neighbor kids’ houses across the fields. They were out inventin’ new things to do in that much snow too. Inside the horse corrals, snow would be more packed down, but up to the fence rails it was mile-high, so we’d leap off the snow bank onto the horses inside the corral at the Johnson and McMillan ranches. If their folks knew we were doin’ that, we’d have got our ears pinned back real good, and sent packin’. Moms were busy indoors cookin’ and cleanin’, so they didn’t come out in dead of winter to see what mischief we were gettin’ into…..and we knew it, so we pushed the line of DON’T CROSS to the max whenever we could. Typical kids.
We were fascinated with the mountains of snow Dad shoveled to make a cave-like experience even to get to the garage or outhouse. To a kid, it seemed a thousand feet above our heads when we’d walk those trails.
The Ferguson kids were all real tall, so we’d ride around on the boy’s shoulders to see over the snow banks. Their hayloft was fun to play in too when we got tired of wadin’ the deep snow.
The Knapp kids provided the indoor fun of roller-skating in their basement on cold days. But I know I’ve mentioned that before. It’s how I learned to skate.

No, I haven’t forgotten the holiday we celebrate in November…..Thanksgiving time is doubly hard for me to forget because it’s right at the time my birthday rolls around. Ugh! I’m going to start countin’ backwards after this one comin’ up!
I love the family, food, and fun Thanksgiving brings, and tho’ in my day, money could be thin in the pockets this time of year, (as we’re gettin’ a taste of today) we always had an abundance of food livin’ on a farm, and a warm house to get together and eat like great pigs, then play all sorts of games with our cousins. The holiday made for some super-sweet memories, and I can still smell my favorite foods Mom, her sister Agnes, and grandma whipped up for a real feast.
I remember the games too, and goin’ outside to play as long we could stand the cold, and as long as the sun cooperated, (it went down by 4:30 p.m. in winter months).

I sure hope this Thanksgiving, y’all remember what wonderful blessings we have in America even in lean times.

Here’s a poem for the holiday…..

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Thanksgiving Time

November is Thanksgiving time,
so take some rest, write a rhyme,
do the chores you have inside,
and with strong families abide.

Remember settlers of old
in history books, or stories told,
of sacrifices they did make
to keep their faith, for goodness sake.

Of Indians who made them friends,
showing them crops they could put in
to survive the life they ‘d chosen—
enduring hardships when land was frozen.

With harvest reaped, they’d celebrate
combining foods they knew were great…
A feast with white men, and with red—
turkey, pumpkin pies, and bread.

They came together to settle this land,
survive together, give a helping hand.
Now, we must remember what this means—
share with others what you glean.

Tamara Hillman….©2010



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