Tidbits - January 5, 2023


  Normally, at Christmas, we’ll see people and say, “Was Santa good to you?”
  This year, we asked, “Did your pipes freeze?”
  In most cases, the answer was, ”Yes.”
  We were given fair warning. The weather people told us is was going to be very cold on the Christmas weekend, with wind chills below zero.
  I thought I prepared. Anytime the morning temperature is predicted  to be in the teens, I have a  heater blowing on the pipes on top of the water heater. Another heater is running on the pipes under the sink in the upstairs bathroom, and I let all the cold water faucets drip. I’ve never dripped the hot water,  because I figure the heater on the heater takes care of that.
  Friday afternoon, I set up my “grandmother”  bedding.
  The predicted temperature took me back to the nights I would spend at my Grandmother Shealy’s house when I was a boy.
  Like many old houses, she only had a heater in one room, the den. She did have a old wood cook stove in the kitchen, used mostly to heat that end of the house during the day.  She had an electric stove for cooking.
  At night, she’d heat a towel on the stove, then put it under the covers at the foot of the  bed. Then, she’d have me climb under the many, many covers on the twin bed. Once under the covers, I was unable to move for the rest of the night, but I slept well.
  Then, I’d wake up the next morning and have to enter the cold bathroom.......
  I use a weighted blanket now, and that is reminiscent of my grandmother’s multiple quilts. Once you get under the 15-lb. blanket, you don’t do much moving. I also had an electric blanket and comforter on top of the weighted one.
  When I awakened during early morning, I heard the wind howling outside and noticed the lights on my stereo were blinking, which meant the lights had gone off during the night.
  I was in the windowless bathroom, when they went off for several hours. Talk about dark!
  I made my way back to my warm bed for the duration of the outage. Unfortunately, the electric  blanket didn’t work, but I could surf on my phone, when I wasn’t nodding off.
  When the power came back on, I started a water search. I had no water in the bathroom in my bedroom.
  The water upstairs was working. The kitchen sink had hot and cold water, as did the sink in the bathroom off the kitchen. The shower had cold water, but no hot water. That had never happened before. Of course, I did not leave the water dripping in the shower. I never have. I will from now on!
  Going outside was agonizing, as you all know. The wind was brutal. All of the trays I use to feed my cats were gone with the wind!
  I recalled the morning I had to milk when I was a teenager, and the temperature was minus four.
  Anticipating frozen pipes, we caught cold water the night before to wash the cows. Oh, we used rubber gloves.
  It was so cold, when the cows relieved themselves, it froze. The cows would slip on the ice coming into the milk parlor.
  Fortunately, we did have a heater in the parlor,  but it was a miserable morning.
  Christmas Eve, I went to a soup and sandwich lunch at Trey and Allie Shealy’s. It hit the spot. Normally, the kids will venture outside. Not this year.
  After my nap, I went to Gina and Trey Fingerlin’s drop-in. I was so full from all the soup, I didn’t eat much, but did bring home a “to go” plate.
  I was fully wrapped up when I got home and went into the woods to find my cat feeding plates. I found enough.
  The evening, I had to watch “The Christmas Story,” only I went to one of my streaming sites and watched it commercial free.   I got in all my favorite Christmas movies. I never got tired of them.
  Even though I ran a heater directly on hot water handle all night long, I still did not have hot water in my shower Christmas morning.
  I was not going to take a “polar plunge,” like Ora and Joe Corley’s grandchildren did on Christmas Eve. With the thermometer showing 12 degrees, they jumped into the pool. They really did. It’s captured on video!
  So, before church I took a “bird bath,” using the bathroom sink. My hot water in the shower was working after church!
  Christmas night, I drove over to Morgan and Holley’s in Lexngton for prime rib. It was so good!
  I got home in time to take in another Christmas movie.
  One of my favorites is “It Happened on Fifth Avenue,” from the late 40s. If you’ve never seen it, it streams on one of the sites.
  It was Wednesday, December 28, before I was able to get in my annual “White Christmas” fix.
  Have I told you before, Dean Jagger, who played the “old man” general was actually a few months YOUN-GER than Bing Crosby, and Vera Ellen, who played Rosemary Clooney’s younger sister, was actually seven years OLDER than Rosie?
  Of course, you all know Rosemary is George Clooney’s aunt, and the mother of the late NCIS-LA actor Miguel Ferrer?
  Christmas movies gave way to bowl games by Thursday, so I guess Christmas Day’s lingering effects  are over, but, according to the church calendar, Christmas doesn’t end until January 6.
  I tried not to be sad, even though our family has experienced four deaths this year.
  On Christmas Day, I happened to look up and saw my mother’s Santa Claus mug collection, sitting on top of a cabinet. They are on display year-round, so it is easy to take them for granted.
  It just goes to show what we all know. Our loved ones may not be here physically, but objects and memories they left behind last forever.
  Those Santa mugs are looking over a kitchen where 21-year-old Betty started cooking for her husband a little boy (me) in 1952.
  I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and have a joyous New Year!