The church and school Christmas programs were over and we had settled in for the holiday. Eight to ten inches of snow fell a couple days before Christmas. Windblown drifts crusted by a freezing rain shut everything down. We were able to feed the livestock and do the chores slipping and sliding around with the old tractor. In the early 1950’s, four-wheel drive pickups and ATVs were not in existence.
In the late afternoon on Christmas Eve, Mom discovered we were out of coffee. That was not good. Coffee was a staple item around our house. We lived about a mile and a half from a little country store called Portia. It was always open for business and there was coffee there. It was too dangerous for us to use the saddle horses. Dangerous for them and us. We finished the chores and Dad and I decided to walk to Portia.
The ice-crusted snow held me up, but sometimes Dad broke through and went deeper than his four-buckle overshoes. We hiked along and soon we were there. Like most country stores of times gone by, Portia had a fair-sized pot-bellied stove in the middle of the store. When we opened the door, there sat several of our neighbors with chairs pulled up around the stove. They too, had made a last minute Christmas Eve walk to shop at Portia store.
After visiting awhile, Dad purchased a pound of coffee and we hiked back home. I have always remembered how the house looked in the dusk as we made our way back up the driveway. Mom had just stoked the fires and the smell of oak wood smoke told us that warmth was there. The sight of the light shining through the frosted kitchen window panes is vivid in my mind. For my two younger sisters and me, homemade cookies and candy awaited. And coffee with breakfast on Christmas morning was assured…
May your day be filled with warm mugs, warm kitchens, and warm hearts. Merry Christmas from our house to yours.