It is a cold Friday morning, late December 1968. School has let out for Christmas and I am 10 years old. I remember the strange and lonesome feeling without my mom being home. Thank goodness for our mini-moms, although grown now, married and starting families of their own, daddy had brought them to the house to take care of us while mom was in the hospital. My baby brother Randy was only two years old and mom is going to bring home another new baby. It is kind of ironic that instead of a snowstorm, Randy was brought home in a thunderstorm on August 5, 1966. The two last babies were the only ones born and raised in the old farm house from infancy. Rodney is seven, Buddy is 12, and Kenneth was 15. Brenda and Linda were married to military men and had their own apartment together in town because their husbands were stationed too far away. We are all awake early, the twins have the Deerborn heater going in the living room, the oven and burners on in the kitchen, all the while being aware that the propane tank was not full of fuel. As I peer out the windows I see the snow falling through the sweat of the window, it has covered the ground. Little, white puffs of it blow by the window. I have my face pressed so close to the window I could almost feel it. We loved to play in the snow, but the twins wouldn’t let us go out right now. “It’s too cold for you kids to be going in and out of the house, tracking in a mess”, besides, you’re going to be sick”. It wasn’t my intention to listen to a word they were saying. We didn’t have any gloves, but we made socks work just fine until they became soaked and frozen. I can remember making trails through the snow, snowballs and even tunnels in the deep snow drifts, something I haven’t seen here in many years. Buddy and I would play until our hands were numb, faces red to the point of frost bite that we had to go in, not because we wanted to either. As we come in the door, snow still stuck to our clothes, the twins go on a rampage. We told y’all not to go outside, the house is already cold and you’re just making it worse. “Both of you go in the kitchen and find something to do”. I know many of you had imaginations like ours, so Buddy and I went to the kitchen, sat at the table and made those triangle footballs out of loose-leaf paper, you know the ones we played with at school? We would sit there and play for the longest. You had to thump the bottom of the triangular shape paper and try to get it to the end of the table without it falling off for a touchdown. Then you would have so many chances to get it to the end of the table unless you got a first down, then punt at the goal that was made with your opponent’s fingers, it was great! The day continues, getting longer and longer and still no momma home. We sit in the living room, staring at an old black and white television set that only got 3 channels. 3, 7, & 10. Listening to either Walter Cronkite or Harry Reasoner, who remembers? We are glad mom had put up the Christmas tree. We must have had the same Four-foot, silver tree forever. It consisted of random shaped and colored balls and often paper made snowflakes with silver icicles hanging from it. Finally, after waiting nearly all day, dad comes home, driving up the old dirt road in his truck. You can see the snow flipping behind the wheels and hear the chains he had put on the tires as he got closer to the house. Supper was ready. The mini-moms made sure we were ready to eat, and of course we were, so we hustled into the kitchen. Our oldest brother Johnny had already left home and married at this time as well. The table had several chairs and a bench that could seat four kids on one side. Dad told us mom was going to have the baby sometime today, December 20, 1968 and she was doing ok. Mom was well into her 40’s now. We all began to eat, but dad decided he’d rather have a beer than eat. With mom, us kids always ate at the table during meal time, but not with dad. Seldom did we eat with him and he usually didn’t eat until late, after he had his fill of beer, or whatever was on his menu to drink for the day. He stayed a while and went back to the hospital. Again, the next morning we awoke with anticipation of probably another brother. The twins were the only girls followed by six boys. Snow still falling, and about mid-morning, we hear the truck and it is mom and dad. They make it in the house and dad proudly says, “it’s another boy”! Mom, sheepishly grinning with pride and glow said, “no it’s not Kenneth, it’s Cindy Jean”. What a beautiful name for a beautiful little girl. The twins grabbed her up first saying, “finally a baby doll”. Cindy was the caboose of a large family, born an aunt already, for Brenda several months earlier had given us our first nephew, David. This day was one of the happiest days for my Mom that I remember. We were all relieved that she was ok and certainly glad she was home.
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