My dad's birthday was last week. He would have been 105. It seemed like the weather was always beastly when his birthday rolled around. It was either frigid or we had a big snowstorm.
In the photo above, he is doing one of his favorite pastimes.
He loved to sit in the swing and watch the world go by.
Today we are facing a very real disaster which makes me think about him even more. The polar vortex has us in it's steely grip and won't let go.
When I was a young child, we lived on a farm. The old farm house was heated with a wood/coal burning furnace located in the cellar, and a small heater in the kitchen.The walls had little, if any, insulation.
A large, metal, floor register, located above the furnace, was the main source of heat.
Dad often talked about the long, cold nights, when he would sit up to keep the fire going. He would dress in layers of warm clothing and sit at the edge of register. His face would be hot, his back freezing cold.
Today, the scene is the same, or even worse, for many in the Midwest. We are facing a serious shortage of propane gas, needed by many to heat their homes, warm their water, cook their meals.
Families are closing their homes and residing in shelters to stay warm. Businesses are closing early, or completely, as they do not have a source to obtain the fuel needed. For those who have found a source that will provide them fuel, the prices are astronomical. Why does human nature dictate that when the supplies are low, or in demand, the prices must rise and make the situation even worse than it already is? The rich get richer, the poor get poorer.
As we check our tanks, cut back on our usage, face the harsh realities of life, I understand what Dad faced all those years ago as he tried to keep his family safe and warm.
I envy the scene in the photo above. How I long for the days of enjoying the outdoors, when there are leaves on the trees and the lawns are green.
I look forward to those days, even if I need to slip on a jacket before stepping through the door.
How well I know that that day will come, and even more days when it will be so hot that I all I will do is complain about the heat. Perhaps a frigid breath of air will blow against my cheek, reminding me of today, when I worry about whether I will have enough fuel to keep me warm for the coming days.
Perhaps the weather is a way to remind us of how fortunate we truly are, and how spoiled we have become. We take so much for granted, then feel panic set it when we're threatened with losing it.
I pray for warmer days,more fuel, warmth, shelter, safety for those in need.
I'm sure that's what Dad prayed for all those years ago as well.