November 17 – Sure don’t get up as early in the morning as we do when the sun shines on a thermometer that registers in the seventies. We keep a pretty good check of the weather around here, so we know that it’s been in the 20’s most of the time. In a couple days now, the lows will be 11 and 6 or 7, the coldest on this date for awhile. I feel sorry for the kids who are waiting for the school bus. So many parents work these days that there’s nobody to check the kids out when they leave the house.
Which reminds me… One winter years ago when I was in 8th grade, it was really cold back in Erie. I had to walk 4 1/2 miles to school (yeah, uphill all the way) because funds were short in the district, and there weren’t many school buses. I think that any kids who lived under five miles from the school had to walk or have other transportation. In our household? Other transportation? Grandpa WALKED to work every day of his life and never did have a car. We rode the bus some years when the schools had enough money, but that was certainly not a regular occurrence.
Anyway, Grandma made sure I had mittens, a long coat, and a kerchief over my head to keep out the cold. Well, I absolutely hated that kerchief because no other girls that I knew had to wear one. They had fancy hats and scarves, etc. So when I got to the big elm tree about 1/4 mile from our house, where I knew Grandma couldn’t see me, even if she were standing in the road watching, I yanked that hated thing off, and continued walking.
Well, by the time I reached the school, my ears, my nose, fingers, and toes, were numb! I was so cold all the way through that I couldn’t figure out what to do except go over to one of those old-fashioned radiators the schools had to provide enough heat for the classroom. So I hurried over, bent my head down on one side but barely felt the heat coming up. Then I turned my head the other way, and baked the other poor frozen ear. You can guess what happened. Wish I had known before I warmed my ears. Talk about pain! Obviously I had frost-bitten ears, and what I did to get rid of the pain was exactly opposite of what I should have done. All through the day my ears begged for mercy, but the pain just kept on going.
Of course when I got home, Grandma took one look at me and knew what had happened somewhere along the way. She must have thought I had suffered long enough before I got home, so she didn’t do one bit of scolding, nor did she say, “Well, it serves you right!” As I remember the frostbite wasn’t bad enough to develop into something far worse; I guess I was a pretty fortunate kid, and you can be sure I wore that kerchief every cold day after.
Made more vegetable soup this weekend thanks to all the tomatoes still ripening; since Dale thinks it’s OK if I take out the carrots, we are in business. Good to have some of that steaming soup when it’s so cold outside. Also made some egg salad for sandwiches, and cooked a pressure cooker full of soybeans.
Harvey has given us some every year, with each bucket being just one infinitesimal bit of their harvest. As we see the big farm truck full of soybeans moving slowly along the road on the way to the companies that buy them, we think of all of the work of planting and harvesting that go into that lowly bean that most farmers don’t even eat! They are so full of good protein and other things good for our health. I found out that they are the second largest farm crop in the country, just after corn. We raise more soybeans than any other country except Brazil and they cover about a quarter of our farmland. Still more cooking to do, but will take care of that at suppertime. – CHRIS