Like so many Kentucky winters before, the cold weather came early and snow blanketed the ground long before Christmas. The County schools had been closed for weeks and the snow packed mountain roads showed no signs of melting. Snow blew through cracks in the ceiling and our water froze in the water buckets every night. Our brothers got up early and built the fires in the heating stove in the living room, and in the wood cookstove in the kitchen. Strings of shuck beans and dried hot peppers hung from the ceiling in the corner of the kitchen, along with a clean feed sack half full of dried apples; mom was saving for a Christmas stack cake. We had plenty of water carried up from the spring, so little sister and I could spend the day playing with Walking Dogs, Jimmy Dancers, and our Fox and Geese board.
Dark came early, so we had a lot of family time in the evenings. Mom popped dishpans full of popcorn and told us ghost stories. She put potatoes in the ash pan of the heating stove and shook the grates and let them bake. She boiled molasses and made popcorn balls and tough jack candy. We were happy and content with what God had given us.
It was almost Christmas and the weather was brutally cold. The clay dirt road that led to the highway had frozen and thawed so many times that it was nearly impassable. That cold and snowy evening along about dark, a car drove up the half frozen, rutted out dirt road, and pulled into our driveway. We wondered who could be out driving on roads like this and on a night like this. It was our older sister and her husband from Ohio. All the sudden things began to change around the old homeplace. They drove mom to town and my brothers hurried out and cut down a little pine tree; brought it back and decorated it. When the others got back from town they were loaded with Christmas presents and goodies. The next day was Christmas. The food was good, the presents appreciated, but, what I remember the most about Christmas 1962 was having the family together again for Christmas.