Winter Musings

Growing up on the Illinois prairie, we learned at an early age that winter could arrive on Thanksgiving Day and decide not to leave until Easter Sunday.

Here in the eastern foothills of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, winter is more like a polite guest, announcing its arrival well in advance and only staying for three days, according to Mark Twain’s advice, that, like fish, “they are only good for three days.”

In truth, Twain borrowed that sage piece of advice from another American humorist, Benjamin Franklin, who said it more bluntly, stating that “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.”

We were reminded of what winter can be like last week, when a moist front up from the Atlantic seaboard met a cold front coming down from the Midwest, and battled for bragging rights directly over us. The snow started falling on Friday morning and never stopped until Sunday, by which time all we could see of Daisy was her tail as she plowed her way across the backyard through twelve inches of fluffy white snow.

But knowing that within a few days it would all be melted, we settled in for a cozy weekend in front of the fireplace with the Christmas tree decorated and the refrigerator well stocked. Of course, as Leigh Ann reminds everyone, I spent three days in my baggy sweatpants and tee shirt with my nose stuck in my laptop computer, writing and editing articles for the 88-page 31st National Arts and Crafts Conference Catalog. In truth, the snow was something of a relief, as it eliminated any possibility of me having to go anywhere for three days, other than sliding down the driveway on foot to feed the horses and walk Daisy and Jasper.

As expected, the snow melted in time for me to pick up a U-Haul truck and drive it to Chapel Hill the following Friday morning to move my youngest son Blake to Charlotte, where he will spend his third year of medical school working in a regional hospital. Loading was a breeze, as we walked directly out of his rental house and onto the ramp of the truck. But what only took two hours to load required four hours to unload, as Blake’s fourth floor apartment required a long trek down the alley and through the parking garage to a lone freight elevator.

And more than once I wondered just how smart I had been to instill in both my sons a love for books – and an affection (or affliction) with Arts and Crafts furniture. So, after four hours of toting heavy boxes and brown furniture, we were both ready for a beer and a burger next door  at “Pints.” Afterwards I collapsed on his couch for the night, but was up at my typical five o’clock, ready to start hanging artwork. At nine Blake stuck his head out his bedroom door and politely let me know my services would no longer be necessary, then went back to bed.

As for me, well, I grabbed my bag and my keys and drove back to Asheville in the warm sunshine, tired, a little sore, but grateful neither of my sons is living in our basement.

Until next week,

Family first.



Top:  Snow atop one of our many birdfeeders.

Middle: Inspired by Gustav Stickley, I made this knock-down dining room table several years ago, and it is now in Blake’s apartment.

Lower:  An artic fox I recused from a thrift shop showing his holiday spirit.