On a winter night–


The Old Farm House Watercolor 2016


This is the house I grew up in on a farm in Eastern Iowa. The house sat in the middle of the farm and in the winter when snow and wind came together and made a blizzard its effect covered the entire farm with banks of the snow that came right up to the house. Sometimes, the banks grew to over four or five feet.  

At Christmas, frost was always on the outside of the windows and inside my mother hung colorful lights that warmed the night when you saw them from a distance. In the parlor, a large tree stood like a king that ruled over our Christmas.

The colorful gifts lay under the tree with bright bows on Christmas Eve enticing me, as a young child, to open them earlier.  If I had opened one of the gifts I knew I would pay a dear price for my thoughtless action.  Instead, waiting, took an enormous toll on my youthful patience.  I couldn’t wait until all the presents were handed out so that I could rip the paper off mine. As I got older I realized ripping off all the paper and ribbon was a little disrespectful of whoever took the time and love to wrap them so nicely.

Just after the presents were open my father began his ritual of holding an enormous  black trash bag with his hook and picking up the trash with his hand.  As he did his job  my mother ran to the kitchen and set out beautiful platters of fruitcake, decorated cookies, and candy she had made. All of the goodies were stored the same each year.  That hall was as cold as any freezer.   I loved that they were there so that I could take a taste of each sweet morsel  before Christmas Eve.

Later that night my mother, sister, aunt and I were taken to Midnight mass by my father. Once at the church, he let us out of the car and then returned later to pick us up.  

The late night made us all sleepy and when we arrived home we quickly got in bed with dreams of the big Christmas Dinner we would have on Christmas Day. As I looked at the photo of the house used in this a painting that I made for my sister, I find it records not just the house but includes all the memories of Christmas’ and other holidays that were momentous to me.

I hope each of you had a great Christmas and soon you will greet the New Year in and I wish you the best in 2019.  Thanks for your visits to read my stories during the year.


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