It was fifty years ago this week. I remember it had been cold even for March, but then it started to rain. Rained all day and into the night. By dawn the next day, the entire village was covered with ice.
I say village, but it wasn’t even really that. Just a half-dozen or so houses at an intersection of two county roads. Two of the houses were owned by a pair of brothers, Jerry and Mike, who hadn’t had a civil word for the other in twenty years. No one could remember why. Reclusive Grandma Jones lived in the big old house at the intersection. On either side of Grandma Jones were houses owned by Phyllis and Dorothy, widows whose kids had once been married, but bitterly divorced. Marvin, who owned the gas station, lived with his family in the new house built in the 1940’s. Now everything was covered with ice. Phone lines down. No electricity.
Three days later it began to thaw. Jerry moved back into his own house after bunking with Mike. Seventy-two hours of existing on venison jerky and old photo albums hadn’t made them buddies again, but they agreed to go trout fishing together that next weekend. Marvin, his wife and three kids moved back home after staying with Grandma Jones and her two big fireplaces that kept the children warm. That summer, Marvin’s kids were often found at Grandma’s, playing in her yard or sitting with her on her front steps reading books together. Phyllis moved back home after staying with Dorothy whose gas range had provided them with heat and the ability to produce the huge casseroles that they had delivered daily to Grandma Jones’ back door.
front porch a warm breeze in the rocking chair