When I was a kid, there were certain constants in our everyday lives. One of them, as unromantic as it seems, was the woodpile and the wood boxes in the house and on the back porch. In winter, the only heat we had was a wood-fired kitchen stove and a tin stove in the dining room, which served as our sitting room. We did have an oil stove in the living room, but it was seldom used. I do remember it was turned on when my Great-uncle Edgar Pullen was coming to visit. I remember he liked to warm his fiddle over the oil stove before he gave us a tune.

There was also a tin stove in mom and dad’s bedroom and a small one in the boy’s room upstairs, but they were only used if it was bitterly cold or if you had to take a bath and needed some heat. But the wood box for the kitchen stove and the stove in the dining room had to be full or nearly full all the time. In later years, an electric cook stove was installed in the kitchen, but mom still wanted that wood cook stove going, especially in the wintertime.

I was thinking of this the other day, and I recalled a poem that I used to know, with a line in it that said something like, “Get some wood in, boys. I think it’s going to snow.”

I have told you before that my father worked on the county roads all his life. And, as such, particularly in the winter, he was always watching the weather, especially if there was going to be falling weather, and most especially, if they were calling for snow.

The last three children in our family were boys. I was the youngest, and then there was Charles and Robert. The outside chores around the place fell to the three of us. There were hogs to be slopped, cows to be fed and milked, chickens to feed and eggs to be gathered. In the summer, of course, there was a huge vegetable garden to be tended. About the time the garden was done, it was replaced with the woodpile and the wood boxes.

One of the things I do to keep busy and active is to keep a little fire going in a woodstove in the basement. As the abrasions of time take their toll on my body, it is getting a bit harder to keep this activity going. I did a bit too much the other day, and it took two more days to get my back to stop hurting. But I have dealt with that most of my adult life and should know by now when I am approaching the level of activity that I’m going to have to pay for. But old habits die hard, and I like the woodstove and the heat and the memories.

I have been enjoying the occasional poems that appear in the paper, written by local folks. I thought the readers of this column might enjoy the poem I referred to above. However, while I know it is in this house somewhere, I have been unable to put my hand on it. Google, which almost always surprises me with what I can find, has been of no help. They keep referring me to Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”

To shorten this story somewhat, I contacted my two sisters and my brother. I struck gold. My sister, Irene, in North Carolina, had one of her daughters email it to me. The author is unknown to me. I hope you like it.

I Think It’ll Snow

I’d like to hear those magic words

That used to thrill us long ago.

When Dad would say, in a certain way,

“I think it’s going to snow.”

He’d tell us not to play along,

And hurry home from school.

To cut the wood, and gather chips,

Bring in the cows and feed the mule.

We’d carry wood and pile it high,

As busy as a bee.

Not many kids in all the world

Were happier than we.

We ate our supper, read our books,

Then scrambled off to bed.

To dream of things like snow cream,

And hillside races on a sled.

My Dad, you see, was seldom wrong,

When the weather he’d predict.

If it didn’t snow and rained instead,

We felt that we’d been tricked.

But later on, the snow would come

And we would have a ball.

Frozen fingers and soggy feet,

Shucks, we didn’t mind at all.

Oh, I long to hear those magic words

That used to thrill us long ago.

When Dad would say, in a certain way,

“Get the wood in, boys. I think it’ll snow.”

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