How Mama Spelled Love in Winter

spelled lovea warm house spelled love

Mama’s actions spelled love in every season, but in winter, it was easier to read. Every winter, our county produced more snow squalls than those surrounding us. Inch upon inch, with a wind chill factor below zero, was not uncommon. The windows in our house harbored Jack Frost on the inside as well as the outside. Some mornings, we woke with a dusting of snow on top of our covers in the upstairs bedroom we shared. The window seals could not keep the wind and the snow outside. In those blustery winters, Mama kept our house warm with a coal furnace. She kept the lane open using her trusty station wagon.

I came downstairs one morning and Mama wasn’t in the kitchen. Mama was always in the kitchen, listening to the news on her radio. It was her morning spot when she wasn’t in the next room in her bakery. I went to find her, because no day can start without a “mama”. She was sprawled crossways across her bed, still in her dress and apron. Her bed was still made from the day before. Mama was sound asleep. 

Mama spent the night going down to the cellar every few hours to shovel more coal into the furnace. I suppose she didn’t think it was worth getting dressed for bed, when she’d be going down those stairs every few hours. I don’t know how many nights she trudged those steps or how many winters, because we slept, obliviously.

spelled love an open lane spelled love

When Mama had to travel out our quarter-mile lane to go to town the next day, she kept the lane open during the night. She drove in and out the lane in her station wagon multiple times. The wheels of the wagon rolled along, pushing the snow down into even tracks. Every few hours, she backed her station wagon out of the garage, drove it out the lane and back again several times. After she pulled the car into the garage, turned off the engine, closed the garage door, she trudged up the steps to the warm house. 

In the morning, the house was warm, and we were not snowed in because Mama shoveled coal and kept the lane open during the night. She didn’t think she had money to hire someone to plow her lane in those years, so Mama took care of it herself.

As we grew older, money seemed less tight. Mama was able to hire someone to plow the lane once in a while. She graduated to hiring Raymond, a man who had a snowblower. She planned her days for snowblowing based on when she needed to be able to get out her lane, the weather of the past week, and the forecast for the morrow.

spelled lovechristmas love

At Christmas, we clamored downstairs to see what gifts were waiting for us. We had to stay on the stairs until we heard the last words of Joy to the World,playing from the record player. As children, we were oblivious to the fact that we already had more than many children the world over. The very fact that our house was warm and there was food on the table was lost in our minds as we opened the gifts we had waited for that long month of December.

As a child, I had no grasp of this love. Today, I recognize that it is not the tangible things we receive that spell “love”. Certainly, the excitement of giving and receiving gifts is etched in my mind. Yet today, when our world is torn apart by nations at war, political conflicts, and evil on many sides, I remember Mama. I remember the way she spelled “love”, and realize again how very blessed we were. 

By most folks’ standards we were considered “poor”, but we had not only enough. We had more than enough, even in the cold and blustery winter.  Mama knew how to spell “love”.

spelled love Pinterest

photo credits: Rachel N. Miller, Mama’s youngest of six.

Similar Posts


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *