Sunday, February 21, 2016

Oak Smoke Memories

            As I returned from my early morning walk, I caught the smell of oak smoke coming from the cabin’s wood stove.  Immediately I was catapulted back to my childhood with memories both pleasant and not so great.

The pleasant memories are sitting around the big Round Oak wood burning heater in the dining room on a cold, dark night in winter, with the wind rattling the windows.  Pa would say, “Storm coming,” when the wind sent a puff of oak smoke down the chimney and into the cozy room.  And he was usually right in his predication.  But it was comfortable as my brothers and I did our homework with the light of a kerosene lamp.

As cozy as the dining room was in the early evening, it was equally miserably cold the following morning, as the old wood stove would go out about midnight.  The kitchen wood burning cook stove would also die in the night, and the entire house was colder than the inside of an ice house come morning.

 So my memories are mixed.  The cozy warm times and the shivering cold mornings when I dressed in front of the stove, hoping to catch a little of the sputtering warmth as the dining room stove struggled to come alive.

Years later, a guidance counselor asked me, “What do you hope to achieve when you finish your education?”

            “What I would like most is to have a warm floor to put my feet on when I wake up in the morning,” I answered.

            I’ve never forgotten the look on the fellow’s place.  Written all over it were the words, “LOSER.”

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Never forget the importance of simple things, such as a warm floor in the morning.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Writing Class at Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose.

            In addition to the one-day writing class I teach at The Clearing in Door County, I will be teaching a one-day “Telling Your Story” writing class at the Wild Rose Library on Saturday, June 11 from nine to four.  Enrollment limited. Call the library at 920-622-3835 to get your name on the list.


February 23, 7:00 p.m. Phillips Center for the Arts, 109 Locust Street, Hudson, WI. Part of Wisconsin Historical Society Tour program.  Lessons from the Land.

March 2, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Necedah public schools

March 5, 11:00 a.m. Women in Agriculture, Keynote talk. Marriott Hotel, Middleton.

March 9, 7:00 p.m.  THE LAND WITH JERRY APPS, hour-long documentary to be aired on Wisconsin Public TV stations throughout Wisconsin.

March 10, 7:30 p.m., Wisconsin agricultural consultants. Keynote talk, Wis Dells. Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.

March 12, 11:00-2:00, McFarlane’s Sauk City.  Book Signing.

March 19, Gathering of the Green, Davenport, IA.  Banquet keynote speaker. Lessons from the Land.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them): 

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

 Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)

 Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)

 The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. and Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984

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