You could feel the cold air moving about in little swirls with pointy tongues which would dart out and sting bare skin. The old windows rattled and all the corners were honed into fine whistles for the gusting north wind.
We quilted ourselves to huddle about the gas stoves blowing the stinging fingers and to listen intently to the stories which could be coaxed out of my grandfather at such times. His old wooden rocking chair slowly carried him into the warmth and away. I can still hear the rolling protest of ancient floorboards.
This beloved big house had no insulation. It was born long before electric poles created a glaring tangle of lights throughout the town and water was carried from the noisome well pump beyond the garden.
Summer and winter bedrooms were separate and p-cans were du jour. The old kitchen was “closed-off” with a frost monster beyond the thin doors. Heated water simmered upon the gas stove to fill rubber bladders to keep icy toes warm in frigid beds.
I recall with clarity his voice though not his words, his limber body in motion, his grizzled face, and my grandmother’s loving glance lingering upon him. The warmth of this night has radiated throughout the years.
My grandparents were the last generation of an old world My parents transitioned while our generation adapted; we acted as the grease to make the world shift as smooth as possible. Our kids are the first true generation of this new technological world dawning about us in all it’s blessings.
I am blessed to have touched upon all these days.