It was sixteen below zero at the farm on Friday morning, and by mid-afternoon the temperature had crawled to a balmy twelve above, but with a stiff southwestern wind. A southwestern wind is supposed to be warm, not this one. I walked only a half-mile or so and saw nothing but gray and white. Not even a crow, one of our toughest northern creatures. No deer, they know better than to wander around on a day like this. Only the creaking of the cold snow as I hiked and listened to the sound of the wind through the tops of bare oaks, and the pine trees.
I thought about the many days I walked to our country school on a day like this, with a cold wind blowing, and no creatures about. Then I wore wool long underwear, wool socks, two pairs of bib overalls, a heavy wool shirt, a wool Mackinaw coat, a heavy wool cap with ear laps, leather mittens with wool liners, four buckle rubber boots—and to top it off, a woolen scarf that my grandmother Witt had knitted and which my mother wrapped around and around my head until only my eyes were uncovered. If you fell down wearing all these clothes it was a challenge to get back up.
By the time I was half way back to the cabin, walking in the wind, I remembered all of this, and I especially remembered my wool scarf. I wished I had it today.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Sometimes a warm memory will make things better on a cold day.
January 8, Downtown Madison Rotary, Noon. Limping Through Life.
January 14. Paperbacks and Pieces bookstore, Winona, MN. 429 Mankato Ave. 12:00-2:00 p.m. Featuring THE QUIET SEASON.
January 15-16. La Crosse Farm Show, Convention Center. Winter on the Farm featuring stories from THE QUIET SEASON. Speaking each day at 11:00 and 1:00.
January 22, 6:30 p.m. UW-Eau Claire Woodland Theater (in Davis Student Center). TV show with live presentation. (Winter on the Farm) Book signing of THE QUIET SEASON.
February 8, Sat. Garden Expo, Madison Alliant Center, 2:15 p.m. Garden Wisdom presentation.
February 9, Sun. Garden Expo, Madison Alliant Center, 10:15 Three Sisters Garden presentation.
February 23, 2:00 p.m. Gard Theater, Spring Green. Showing of Winter on the Farm with questions and discussion. Followed by book signing of THE QUIET SEASON. Sponsored by Wisconsin Public TV and Arcadia Bookstore.