Tuesday, November 23

Tuesday . . . touch my heart: winter days

As a teen, I spent one winter with my grandparents on their farm in rural Idaho.

Each morning I woke at 3 o’clock and listened for my grandfather. When I heard him down in the coal room, I knew that warmth would soon begin to creep into the house. I didn’t like the smell of coal smoke. It stung my nose. But facing the deep freeze of Idaho winter mornings without the fire Grandpa kept stoked was not an option. Near the little vent that came up from the basement I warmed my toes and dressed. Then I walked the few steps to the kitchen where Grandma was already up and making breakfast. After I ate I walked a mile to the local store—the commissary as it was called—where I waited to board a chattering and hopefully dependable old school bus driven by a man named Dale.

In the winter the roads alongside the Snake River in the town where my grandparents lived—population around two hundred including, I think, a few cows—were hazardous. There was black ice beneath thick frosty snow, and the pass the bus needed to climb to get out of the valley was steep, narrow, and winding. After crossing the area at the top of the pass, Antelope Flats, where snow drifts could easily build to numerous feet in height, we wound our way out of the mountains until the bus stopped at the side of the highway.

The lucky kids got to continue their ride on into Idaho Falls.

Those of us who attended school in Ririe had to disembark and walk over a mile more to reach the school.

The end of each day was easier; the bus driver picked us up at the school. The return trip across Antelope Flats was sometimes made behind a snow plow. When we careened down the ice covered vista of Granite Pass, the boys urged the bus driver to go faster yelling, “Punch it, Dale, punch it.”

I clung to the seat and began to understand the true value of the gift of life.

Back at the store, mile walk home, and entering a warm house where a warm meal was being prepared, and where love was expressed abundantly for me, I began to understand the intricacies of life and what gives it depth and meaning.

I count myself blessed to have spent that winter in my grandparent’s home, and to have made those trips to school. Experiences that hone existence down to its simplest form bring the greatest focus.

I needed focus then.

I still need it now.

That’s why when life gets complex my mind always travels back to those days with my grandparents where lessons of faith and sacrifice for loved ones were embedded in my soul.


deerie65775 said...

What a lovely memory of your grandparents and school days.. thank you for sharing!

Lori said...

Thank you for your comment! Have a wonderful week.


Glynis said...

Oh treasured Grandparent memories. How lovely. I have a few of my own. Thanks for sharing yours. :)

Lori said...

You're very welcome, Glynis. Have a beautiful day!

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