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another day of cold

January 24, 2011

Ohio has been in a deep freeze these last few days.  We got a load of snow last week and it seems determined to stay.  I laugh every morning at the little dogs.  They don’t mess around taking care of business in the mornings NOW.  No nosing around the back fence to aggravate the neighbor dog.  No chasing squirrels along the top of the fence.  No following Maxim around to see where he’s gonna lift his leg.  Nope, it’s too cold for that nonsense! 

Thinking about winter made me remember one year when we went to see Floyd and Elsie down in West Chester.  I’m foggy about directions and place names.  My brother knows them well, but I can recognize them only when I’m reminded.  I’d probably get lost if I tried to go alone.

Floyd was my father’s cousin.  Two Floyd Bears!  I don’t know why the world didn’t fly apart.  It led to a bit of confusion but my father was called ‘Ed’  or “Floyd Ed” by his family and his cousin was simply “Floyd.”   It would have led to major confusion if they had happened to work at the same place because both were called “Bear” by their co-workers.  And it was appropriate I guess.  Both were tall and dark skinned with black hair that fell in a shaggy hank over their foreheads.  Each had a five o’clock shadow any time after they’d been shaved for an hour.

Floyd and Elsie lived with Uncle Edgie and cared for him.  ( I’m not real sure if Floyd was Edgie’s son or nephew.) They had a daughter, Margie.  She was a couple years older than me.  The house and farm where they lived was the ‘home place.’   We frequently went there to visit.  It was a big square house with a huge front porch across the front.  There were big trees in the front yard and on every side the farm was going back to nature.  Floyd didn’t farm much except for maybe a few milk or beef cows and some chickens.  I think he made some hay and maybe planted some corn, but nothing extensive.  He worked off the farm in a factory or somewhere.

When we visited, Mom and Elsie would go in the big kitchen and talk about the things middle aged women talk about.  Dad and Floyd would go out around the trucks and barn and talk about the things that middle aged men talk about.   I would follow Margie around and play some of her games and read her school books.  Poor Buster, he was the odd man out.  He’d mess around out under the hickory tree in the yard or follow Dad and Floyd around doing the things little boys do on a farm.

This particular time we were visiting in the winter.  I have no idea why.  Why would you go plowing through snow and mud over country roads when you didn’t have to?   Anyway, we went one morning.  And plow we did.  There were several inches of snow on the side roads.  It was deep enough that the going was difficult and only dad’s fantastic driving got us as far as we did.  On the last hill before we got to Floyd and Elsie’s we slid into a shallow ditch on the side of the road partway up.  In decent weather it would have been a slight bump.  With all the snow it was impossible to get out of. 

Dad worked for quite a while trying to get us out.  There were no cars on the road and not even tracks.  Finally, a man came along with a team of horses hitched to a wagon.  He greeted us in a jolly way and observed that we were stuck.  He and Dad talked about how to get out and whether his horses could help.  The conclusion was that the car was too heavy for the horses to pull out.  (We always had heavy Oldsmobiles or Buicks. ) 

When the man found out we were going to the Bears’ place he said we were just over the hill from them!  (Daddy knew that.  I didn’t )  He volunteered to go on over there and tell Floyd we were stuck.  And so he did.

In a short while Floyd came on his big old tractor.  Don’t ask me what kind it was but it was certainly big enough and strong enough to pull us out and help us on up the hill.  At the top of the hill he unhooked us and we drove on down to the house.  We had a pleasant visit; it was between Christmas and New Year’s I think because I remember looking at and playing with some of Margie’s Christmas presents. 

We visited for some time and before it was too late in the day we started home.  No one wanted us to be stuck again in the dark.  Floyd followed us back up and around the hill and back to paved roads.  Or maybe we followed him in his tractor tracks. That would make more sense, but I just remember going out to get in the car with him getting on the tractor behind us.  From the corner at the paved road he left us to get home by ourselves. 

To be really honest though, that’s the first and I think about the only time I ever remember Dad getting really stuck.  A few times we were in but  he soon got us out;  this is the only time he ever had to have someone pull us out!

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