Monticello Memories – SnowFebruary 6th, 2011 by Sheilla Lampkin
In light of the recent snowfall I thought I’d share a few childhood “snow” memories with readers. Actually one of my fondest memories isn’t mine, but I love to think about it and the dear lady who first told me her favorite snow memory.
Ever a wonderful storyteller, the late Irma Ross once shared a picturesque and true story about a snow, an iced over pond and her first delightful foray into ice skating. Most children in those days had to improvise so Mrs. Irma recalled skating around the frozen pond from tree to tree while holding onto branches. She had no fancy ice skates, but “slid” around in her favorite shoes! She remembered having a great time and not falling often. Now isn’t that a picture to contemplate?
As for my youth, I don’t recall ice unless it was hanging in long icicles off the edges of the roof. (When I think about it, I become convinced that global warming may be the culprit in the more frequent ice storms now.) However, I do remember many snows that were “heavy” in my mind. I remember one particular snow when my family still lived beside the levee in Desha County.
My favorite memory begins with Daddy carrying my sister and I, one by one, piggyback a distance of about 200 yards to Grandpa’s house s in the deep, ethereal snow. I recall it was a Sunday after Grandpa’s weekly Saturday trip to McGehee for groceries. When we got to his house that morning, he announced we’d soon have a real treat. He pointed to “things” rising about an inch out of the snow in the side yard of the house.
About midmorning he went out to the mysterious objects, heaved one up and, lo and behold, they were those wonderfully sweet and syrupy Orange Crush soft drinks! These were chilled to that icy slush state that was “oh, so good”!! I will never forget that delightful taste – and I’ve never had one as good since!
(I also remember we had bologna sandwiches for lunch that day. Holly brand bologna sandwiches were a Saturday treat when I was a child because the meat was “store bought”. This particular day, however, I got sick – and blamed it on the bologna. It was a long time before I’d eat bologna again.)
I recall another snowy Christmas when we spent the afternoon plodding up the side of the levee carrying a big cardboard box. Then we’d slide down the hill in the box! It was great fun!! After a few trips we were worn out and the boxes were soaked so our sledding ended. We had created our own great fun and memories though.
Perhaps my most frequent, and least favorite snow memory, would be the Vicks salve snows. That’s because, as sure as it turned cold, I’d get a respiratory infection. (I realize now I’ve probably always had a “touch of asthma”.) Anyway, Mother would let us play in the snow until we came in coughing. Then she’d get out the flannel cloth, daub the pungent Vicks salve on it liberally and pin it on our underclothes. I guess it helped, but I remember countless nights trying to get to sleep with that odor filling the air. That’s why I’d rather have a shot than the Vicks treatment!
I also remember one wintry night or weekend as a child in Dumas when we heated with natural gas and a gas line broke. Gas was turned off throughout the town until the leak could be fixed. Daddy was away at his job, so Mother piled every mattress and blanket we had in the floor, the four of us climbed underneath the pile and we stayed there until the heat returned. We couldn’t move, but we were warm. It was one very long and cold night to a child.
You may wonder why I am sharing these memories with you. Well, I am hoping to inspire you to share your memories with your young people. Better yet, jot them down and send them to me at the museum for my collection!
See you at the museum!!