Country Whispers

Country Ramblins'

By Tamara, November 2014

It’s November, and here comes snow in many places where my readers reside…
Its a time for rest, a warm comforter over your lower extremities while you watch TV, read, snooze on the couch or in your favorite lounge-chair while snowflakes drift slowly down outside making everything look pristine-clean and beautiful.
I loved the calm peacefulness of winter months when all the ranchers and farmers gathered in town to wile away some quiet time ‘shootin’ the bull’, as we called it back then, without the worry of fields needin’ water an’ mowin’, or stock bein’ driven to different pastures high or low in the surrounding mountains for better grazing. No worries about not enough rain or too much, the price of beef, etc., etc. Just time to have sweet reunion with folks you hadn’t talked to since spring plantin’.
I remember well those first days of winter as we kids dashed to the windows to watch the first flakes fall. The house would be warm and cozy, and smell of dinner cooking on the stove when we’d just come home from school. Mom had a four burner electric stove in the kitchen, and one of the rear burners could be lifted out, and a special pot that came with the stove, lowered into it (I swear it was the first crock-pot ever!) Many a great pot of bacon & brown beans were simmered all day in that pot, and beef heart & noodles, or a roast with onions, carrots, and chunky potatoes. Mmmmmmmm! I can smell & taste those meals yet. She could boil a whole chicken in that pot too, then, add noodles or dumplings.
Mom’s fried chicken also was the best I’ve ever tasted to this day! She made it in a cast iron skillet with plenty of lard in the bottom crackling away when her seasoned and floured chicken parts landed in it. It would turn out crispy and golden brown like Coronel Sanders best. Potatoes, some peas, and biscuits & gravy on the side, and you’d make a pig of yourself everytime.
Those were and still are the meals I long for, and try to imitate when the weather turns chilly, and the family appreciates a hot meal to warm their stomachs. Through the years, I’ve become a ‘crock-pot queen,’ and love the time it saves me, and delicious meals it provides.
Funny how smells can bring back lovely memories of family, friends and home, but with me it’s usually ‘food’ smells, (and I wonder why I can’t control my weight, ha! ha!)
With November here, I’m sure most of you gals, at least, are looking toward the holidays, and cooking traditional meals for your family at Thanksgiving & Christmastime. Can you just smell that turkey or ham, homemade dressing, mashed potatoes & gravy, cranberries, yams with marshmallow topping, and punkin’ pie? Lordy—there I go again! Well, that’s our traditional meal, and I’m anxious for it to be that time of year again. I love the festivities and decorations of the holidays, and giving THANKS for all we have, and remembering our ‘Father in Heaven’ is the ‘Reason for the Season!’
So many folks in my memory have passed on now, but in my mind’s eye I see them still, and it warms my heart—their faces laughing and enjoying food and funny tales passed from one generation to the other.
We were kids unaware, not knowing we would cherish those cold winter days of November’s holiday feast followed by sledding, and walking on top of frozen snow without breaking through as we ran outside to play after our stomachs were full. We thought Thanksgiving was only for church, and a lovely meal at the end of each November in memory of some strange pilgrim-people we’d read about in school who shared their harvest meal with Indians in their area far from our little country town in eastern Washington.
Tho’ my heart is heavy this year for my first cousin (who was raised like a sister to me) as she fights bladder cancer, I know we in America have so much to be THANKFUL for….
(This year my birthday falls on Thanksgiving Day, so when you bite into that turkey, think of this ol’ bird!!!)

Granny Tam

Here are two favorite poems for winter and the holidays…

Blessed Days

FIRST SNOW

The signs are all around me—
skies are suddenly gray-white,
and I smell snow is coming,
maybe on this very night…

********



What is this ambiance of awe
when viewing those first flakes
swirling softly t’ward the earth—
a white blanket soon to make?

It’s not as tho’, these many years,
I’ve not witnessed this same scene—
snow piling high on field and trees,
and grass no longer green.

There is no explanation
for the pleasure I now feel
as I listen to this old house creak,
and think it no big deal.

The warmth and coziness inside
is multiplied ten-fold,
and I treasure it above those things
bought with purest gold.

Each flake serves such purpose
as it tumbles to the ground
covering seeds and crops to yield
while making nary a sound.

Protection from the temperatures
dipping way down low—
snow insulating ground from frost
spread liberally e’re it goes.

And I, like many others,
who endure long months of snow,
get weary of it later on
when it curtails where I go.

But oh, thru’ frosted window pane
reflecting fireplace glow,
it fills my heart with wonder,
as I welcome the first snow.

 

Tamara Hillman
©2011

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