My dad was a plumber and electrician. Don’t you figure if he had been alive during this below zero weather, his phone would have been ringing off the hook. When I was a kid, my dad, Warren Morris and Charlie Beckerdite were the plumbers, electricians and pump fellows in Fair Grove.

Although we didn’t experience any frozen water pipes, a lot of people did. But with temperatures dipping to 17 below (here, at least), and as low as minus 23, elsewhere, of course pipes are going to freeze.

I grew up in a big, five-bedroom, two-story farm house. That big old house had no insulation, and the lath board walls covered with plaster, didn’t do much to keep out the cold.

As the temperature inched its way toward freezing, Daddy drained all the pipes. From that point on, the rest of the winter, we relied on the water we drew from the freeze-proof hydrant behind the house.

Baths were taken in a washtub, filled with water heated on the wood kitchen stove. As I’ve written before, more than one person took their bath in that same water. Yuk, I’m hearing some of you say. My grandson has teased me about taking a bath in a tub, saying that “You’re just sitting in your own filth.” Oh, goodness, what would he think about having to take his bath after his dirty brothers and sisters (if he had any, which he doesn’t).

My nephew has a pump service. He received 67 calls on one of those cold days, and 35 another of those days.

At this house, our pump in underground, and the pressure tank is in our basement. Both are protected from freezing. At our previous house, we had a well house. When Terry and I were first married, and living in that house, we had to call my dad and say, “Our water is frozen.”

Here he came. If I’m remembering correctly, he used a welder to thaw out the lines. From that point on, we turned on a heat lamp in that area. Also, at that house, we had to hang a lamp inside our clothes washer to keep the pipes from freezing.

I asked my brother about the welder thing, and he said yes — most people had galvanized pipes back then. Now they have plastic pipe.

Houses back years ago only had single-pane windows. I can remember the kitchen windows in the apartment my roommates and I lived in, located on Cinderella Street, east of Steak ’n Shake, on Glenstone, having solid ice on the inside of them. We didn’t think a thing about it. When it warmed up outside, the ice melted.

I’ll finish this column with a couple of poems. The first one is a Tartoum poetry form, titled “A Winter Storm.”


Put the electric blanket on,

A cold front is heading our way,

With snow in the forecast.


A cold front is heading our way,

Batten down the hatches,

Get out the shovel.


Batten down the hatches,

Bring in another armload of wood,

Stock up on groceries.


Bring in another armload of wood,

Pull your muffler a little tighter,

Grab your sweater.


Pull your muffler a little tighter,

The north wind is blowing,

And don’t forget your mittens.


The north wind is blowing,

With snow in the forecast,

Get out the shovel,

Stock up on groceries,

Grab your sweater,

And don’t forget your mittens.


The next poem is titled “A Winter’s Morn.”


Hey, don’t you think I should stay in,

On such a day as this,

I mean the drifts are two feet deep,

To drive would not be bliss.


The windshield on my car is froze,

It’s like a block of ice,

It’d take a chisel and a pick,

To stay home would be nice.


The roads out here? They may be cleared.

They came and plowed this one.

The roads between? They could be too.

I guess they could be done.


Come in, you said to come on in,

There’s work that should be done,

But sir, it’s slick, and man it’s cold,

Outside it’s not much fun.


Okay, I’ll come, but I’ll be late,

I’ll be a little late,

I’ve got to clean my car off, Sir,

A job I really hate.


Goodbye, I’ll see ya in a while,

I’ll slide there all the way,

Yes Sir, I’ll get there when I can,

Yes, later in the day.


Hey Kids, I’ve got to go to work,

I can’t come out and play,

Oh, what the heck, I’ll be right out,

I’ll work another day.

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