|The Insecure Writer's Support Group|
I have a special guest post this Wednesday from a friend in my writer's group. Her name is Debra Clay and she writes short stories/flash fiction with a unique style. This month, as we look forward to spring, her short story "Snow Days" seemed to be exactly right, uplifting. I hope you enjoy it! Also don't forget to visit our Co-Hosts this month and thank them.
Snow is one of nature’s most enigmatic occurrences. Whether viewed from the front porch or under a microscope, it is beautiful. Yet it can be one of nature’s most destructive forces. I remember my first snow days from school. As a matter of fact, living in South Georgia, they were my only snow days from school. Although we in the south are more accustomed to dealing with heat and thunderstorms accompanied by lots of lightning, the rare snow storm does occur.
It was in March of 1962 and what a storm it was! Forty-mile-an-hour winds, temperatures in the upper twenties and, yes, snow…wet, heavy snow that stuck wherever it landed. Tree limbs, power lines, clothes lines and anything that could fall, did. Needless to say life came to a standstill with power outages affecting half the state. We were used to having to ‘rough it’ without power, but only for a few hours in the summer. We would raise the windows to let in the cooling breeze, cook supper on the grill, light some candles at night and generally have a high old time. Not so in winter, I discovered. We’re talking three days—three days without power. The only heat was what our own bodies generated and who wants to grill outside in subfreezing weather? I thought my life was ending after only 8 short years on this earth.
Fortunately for me (and my siblings) Mom and Dad grew up in a time when there were none of the conveniences that my generation had become accustomed to. They huddled in a corner for a while, hatching a plan to keep us all alive until the power was restored. Then Dad began to issue orders.
“Okay boys. Take your wagon and gather as much wood as you can. Girls, you follow your mother to the kitchen and, and…do whatever she tells you.”
We ultimately settled in the smoke house where a large kettle set in hollowed out concrete served as fireplace, water heater and cook fire. We girls had helped mother bring cast iron cookware and food from the kitchen. We bathed in warm water taken from the kettle, ate sausages and biscuits cooked over coals pulled from beneath the kettle, and generally had a high old time. It was just like hog-killing, only without the hogs. Sleeping on burlap tobacco sheets spread on the ground was the only tough part of that adventure (if you don’t count having to go outside to take care of business. Mom and Dad didn’t worry about us being out there. The cold and the darkness insured we didn’t stay out for long.), but at least we were warm in the smokehouse, full and safe.
Those snow days taught me to appreciate the things that made life pleasant: central heat, a kitchen stove, running water, a soft bed, electric lights, a room of my own and, of course, a flush toilet. I’m all grown up now and sometimes when I feel down, unloved, unwanted, and insignificant I take ‘snow day’ stock of my life, making a list of all the things I am grateful for but sometimes take for granted: family, a home, good health, US citizenship, education, income, transportation… My list is five pages long and growing daily. This exercise certainly chases away the blues and serves as a reminder that, I am having a high old time.