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"Come look," David said as he looked out the window. "How many birds do you think that little tree can hold? I think they are trying to hold on from the wind."

I looked out at the little tree that is a favorite landing spot of the birds above our birdbath, and it was full of birds.

"No, I think they are trying to hold their little tree down so it won't blow away," I answered.

David laughed and said, "You may be right."

We were having some cooler straight-line winds, and we can tell winter is beginning. Inside our warm home, we are hardly aware of the weather outside except for the sound of the wind, and I still go barefoot as always.

We started reminiscing about our homes that we grew up in and lived in as children. I thought it was interesting David grew up in Montgomery County and I here in Callaway County, but we had the same memories of our homes.

In this kind of weather, Mom and Daddy would hang a quilt over the doors to non-vital rooms and confine the heat from our wood stove to one main room. Our living room became our bedroom, kitchen and living quarters. David says his family did the same.

We would go into the kitchen only for needed items, then back to the living room. You could see your breath in the kitchen, and there were times the dipper would freeze in the water bucket. Somehow, I don't remember it being a hardship, at least not for us children. It was fun like camping out and just a way of life.

Our big wood stove in the living room became our cook stove as well as heating stove during those days in the winter. Remember the cold linoleum floors? We had them in every room. I don't know if they even can warm up. The linoleums weren't as long-lasting as they are now. We got to put down new ones frequently, and the change freshened up the house. Especially after house dances, they were worn off.

The times it wasn't too cold, my little brother, Gary, and I would climb up the little narrow steps to our upstairs to sleep. By narrow, I mean not only in width of the stairs but also that the boards weren't hardly wide enough, even for children's feet.

On the way to our bedroom, as we would almost reach the top of the stairs, we would pass by an open attic area. It was dark back in there, and I tried not to look. It seemed kind of scary. I bet if Daddy would have known this frightened me, he would have boxed it in. I never said, and he never knew.

I lived in three different homes growing up. I loved them all, but none of the three remain. They were replaced by new homes. Daddy and his brothers owned all the adjoining land, and we lived in the farthest house from the main road, in the bottom near the creek. As one of his brothers, (Chick) moved somewhere else, we moved up closer to the main road. Finally, the brother on the main road (John) moved, and we moved to that house, which was closer to school. Daddy ended up owning all the property from the road to the creek bottom.

All three homes had an upstairs. Two had big winding stair steps, but the last one had the little steep narrow steps — I guess to save space or lumber.

The wind blowing outside now reminds me of a night when the wind was blowing hard at our old house. Gary and I were awakened by an eerie howling sound and a thumping. We were scared and huddled together, afraid to go downstairs and pass by that dark attic area. It seemed the sound could be coming from there.

I guess it must have really been blowing because soon Daddy's voice was heard downstairs, and he called to us and asked if we wanted to come downstairs and sleep. Daddy himself was always afraid of the wind. He had been in a tornado more than once. He watched the weather closely his entire life.

In our upstairs, there were cracks in the chinks that filled in between the logs of the walls, and at night, you could see the light from the moon and stars in certain places. There was one window, and I would lay in bed in the dark and watch for falling stars. I would try to be ready, because I always heard if you could make a wish before the star went out, it would come true. I wonder what it was that I wished for — I don't remember now.

The wind here this day was blowing as hard as I ever recall seeing. Dave and I stepped outside and sat down a minute on our front patio as we talked and watched in amazement at the wind taking newspapers and other things rushing pass our house going right down the road. Just then, a large grey garbage can came down the road and went on by and out of sight. Next went a dog or cat travel cage. Our son, Eric, called and asked what we were doing. I told him we were shopping — watching for something to come by that we wanted. We had a laugh, but then a limb went by and we decided we had better go inside and take a break from "shopping."

Yes, I can still recall where everything sat in the rooms in the houses where I grew up, and I can tell you where the cracks all were. I loved those old houses.

Every time we pass an old vacated house, I wonder about all the memories that were made there. I always say, "We could live there! We could make that old house a home."

David agrees, "Yes we could."

But then reality hits, and it makes us sad. We aren't spring chickens any more.

Those old houses left us with a lot of good memories. Maybe some would say we were poor, but we didn't know it — we were just too busy having fun and enjoying our childhood.

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