Winter has come to Oregon. Even though we are a northern state, we have fairly mild winters. This year the cold blast has brought chilling winds and a dusting of snow. Only in the last few years have we seen much snow. It was a rarity when we moved here in 1978. Snow. How I miss the farm when the ground turns white.
We had two sleds. One was Dad’s old sled. I imagine the second was purchased when the second daughter came to reside at the Loxley home. As a late comer, I got to ride with one of my sisters arms wrapped around me. Most of Neff Road is fairly flat. Our house sat on a hill; therefore, all the neighbor kids came to sled. Bundled from head to toe, they flew down the hill gliding out into the field. Dad watched over us making sure we were all safe and having a great time. He liked to give the sled a push and listen to the laughter of the children. Mom waited in the house with hot chocolate and popcorn balls.
This time of the year on Neff Road was very special. It meant neighbors coming to visit more often. It meant a warm fire in the fireplace and hot dogs on the roastings sticks. It meant fresh pie in the kitchen and a basket of nuts to crack open. Cold nights in the upstairs bedrooms and warm clothes draped over the radiator. The animals had on their winter coats. And we, too, donned layers of clothing. The old, thick comforters came out of storage along with a musty feather bed. Sisters sharing a bed got along a little better in order to share the warmth. Dad was in the house more since the fields were sleeping. It was winter on Neff Road.
I stand by the window with my two little grandchildren. They see their first snow. Eyes are big and wonder is written all over them. What is this white stuff? They won’t know the hill on Neff Road. Only the stories I write, the pictures I share and the memories I tell will keep this memory of mine alive for those who come after. I long for Neff Road, but with you, I visit it often.
We share memories, you and I. Our history is alive in what we pass on. A bit of snow and a childhood remembered.
Pam Drake is a former resident of Darke County and is the author of Neff Road and A Grandparent Voice blog. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.