Rose has been feeling a tad sympathetic with all those on the receiving end of this late winter / early spring snowstorm. She knows just how that feels…
Rose gathered the blanket tighter around her chin. Whoever coined that phrase about March lambs and lions obviously hadn’t lived here. It was on days like this that she really missed her mother’s house: fireplace in each room, maids to light them while she lay snuggled in her warm bed, hot cocoa waiting for her when the room finally warmed.
The best she could hope for here was that Harold had lit the stove in the kitchen, and perhaps left some water warming in the kettle. She was also coming to realize that clapboard home construction was not very weather tight. That was clear from the tiny drift of snow banked inside—inside—the bedroom window.
Her current choices, however, were to stay where she was and perhaps freeze, or brave the frigid air and head downstairs to warmth, hopefully. She reached a foot out of the covers in search of the slippers she’d left on the floor the night before, and, once found, scooped each up in turn under the covers to warm a bit before plunging her foot into their depths, then pulled the quilt around her shoulders like a shawl and eased herself out of the bed.
She stood a moment while the baby readjusted. He, of course, was cozy warm and not very pleased to be roused and paid her back by nestling in against her bladder. Criminey! That chamberpot would be cold.
Of course, she knew that already from the six times during the night that she’d been up. At least the frigid air took care of the smell.
Another thing she missed from her mother’s: inside plumbing!
She hurried as much as her bulk would allow. As her foot hit the last stair tred, warmth from the woodburning stove greated her, and, as she hoped, a full kettle sat on the back burner of the stove, the water warm and bubbly. She pulled out a teabag and set a cup to steep while she surveyed the storm’s damage from the kitchen window.
Except a wall of snow met her instead. She’d expected to see a lot of snow–the storm had howled most of the night–but never like this. Why, it was every bit as high as the stories the oldtimers told about the blizzard of ’88.
She went to the door for a better view. It looked like a scene from a wintery Exodus, a sea of white parted down the center in a beeline for the barn. She hoped all the animals were alright.
Once, she would have seen that snowfall and thought she was in a wondrous fairy land. She would have anticipated snow castles and sliding down hills with Papa. But Papa was gone, now, and her attempts at recreating the past largely failed. Still, there was the babe on its way. She could look forward to play days once he arrived.
“Looky there, Junior,” she said, patting her protruding belly, “your Pa is Moses now and no doubt will be expecting manna when he crosses the White Sea again. Oatmeal will have to do.” She poured some of the hot water into a pot and added the oats, then pulled the chair close to the stove, added a few cobs to the fire, and settled in. “Let me tell you a story while we wait, shall I, Junior? About the Winter Princess and her snow castle, I think.
“Once upon a time, there lived a Winter King and his daughter the Winter Princess. And he built her a beautiful castle of snow. Then one day…”
2 thoughts on “B is for…”
I want more!!
Meanwhile, I just found this: http://www.thehistoricaldiaries.com/american-history/life-on-the-nebraska-homestead-a-letter-from-mattie-v-oblinger-1873/
What a great find, Deniz! Thanks for sharing it. Filmore County is not that far from where my mom and dad grew up. Of course, none of my relatives were first settlers of NE.
BTW, I really wanted to sell Mattie a few commas and periods. School children should have to read letters from the 1800s so they can learn how important punctuation is!