Saturday, May 28, 2005

Endless Winters

The winters in Aroostook County are brutal. You have probably gathered that by now if you have been reading these posts. While in the County, we saw it snow as early as September and as late as June.

I grew up in Maine. I lived in Old Town and Howland. I spent many hours on the Penobscot river skating, and whenever my Rupp snowmobile wasn't broken down, I was skimming across trails with my friends. . . My wife Sandy grew up in Dallas, Texas where she skimmed across water on skis!

Sandy loves New England. While we were in the Ellsworth area, she found the milder wintery scenes romantic and loved to hike in the snow and even tried cross-country skiing. In the spring she chased smelt up little brooks on her hands and knees. She is absolutely beautiful, but not a prissy.

In Presque Isle with the week-long cold snaps of minus 20 degrees (not counting the wind chill) and snow measured in feet -- not inches -- Sandy's faith was sorely tested. All through the winter she maintained her pattern of standing over the heat register first thing in the morning, and traveling countless times up and down the cellar stairs during the day to feed the woodstove.

There was a particular look on her face that troubled me at times. I would often watch her gazing out the kitchen and living room windows. I knew she was watching the snowbanks grow taller and taller, wondering how far the snow was going to drift up the sides of the house; at times it nearly covered our windows.

I had the easiest job. I was meeting new people and my scenery was constantly changing. Sandy was holding down the fort with a one year old and a three year old; the first winter they were sick alot. We had no insurance. Our house was like Grand Central Station on weekends. When someone didn't show up to fulfill their responsibilities at church, she often took up the slack.

Today, Sandy and I live in the Southeast. We backpack together, cycle together, kayak from time to time, and find countless ways to be out in the the glorious heat and sunshine of Columbus, Georgia. There are few things you can guarantee in life, but this one thing we do guarantee -- You will never hear us complain about the heat or the hardships of life -- since we left the land of the endless winters!

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