THE APPROACH OF WINTER; AN AMERICAN CHILDHOOD #16

We knew that it was coming; all the leaves had fallen down,

and lay in wet and heavy clumps and clusters on the ground;

the cats and kits and dogs and pups had gotten winter coats,

and ice was forming on the pond where in summer we sailed boats;

My ma had taken out our scarves, warm mittens and galoshes,

and got out heavy blankets that we laid across the horses,

the cellar was jam packed with fruit and veggies ma had canned

all through the scorching summer months and we all took a hand

Making jams and jellies, packing eggs in lots of straw,

apples filled the barrels and it was  late in fall

when papa butchered us a pig and hung the hams to cure

we all helped make the sausages; the smokehouse was a lure;

we all strung miles of pole beans that ma hung up in the rafters.

and thought that we would surely eat like kings forever after,

along with apple slices that ma hung up there to dry,

on some snowy winter morn, they’d be so great to fry,

we gathered nuts from all the trees and put them all in sacks

and in the cellar loaded squash where pa had put up racks,

Ma quilted through the winter making covers for our beds,

and using feathers from the geese, made pillows for our heads;

Pa and I had chopped up wood until the shed was overflowing,

through the cold and bitter months, the woodstove would be glowing

the pantry shelves were overfull with flour, salt, and honey,

all the things that ma had bought selling eggs to get the money.

the cabbages had been shredded and were salted in a crock,

and when we had put up everything, my ma and pa took stock

and pa would look into the skies and say that winter’s here;

but we would have a lot to eat and there was naught to fear.

SANDRA LEE SMITH

ORIGINALLY POSTED JUNE 29, 2010

UPDATED SEPTEMBER 29, 2018

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