Wednesday, January 19, 2011
All The Conveniences
It didn’t take long to replace the missing glass in the windows and clean out the trash. There was an old wood stove made of sheet metal that would provide their only heat. It looked like a giant oval stove pipe with a hinged lid on the top. Dave christened it Tin Lizzie on the first day they lit a fire in it. That stove was going to keep them alive for the winter. It gave off plenty of warmth but it went through fuel at an alarming rate. With a little judicious patching of walls here and there they could keep the worst of the drafts out but they were going to have to cut and haul a lot of wood to keep old Lizzie burning.
They had three coal oil lamps and a good supply of candles for light. Their cooking would have to be done on a camp stove and there was a root cellar where they could store their food. Water was going to be the real problem. They built a sled that would hold two large garbage cans and every few days they would drag it about a half mile to the creek to fill those cans with water. There would be no baths till spring. A covered bucket had to serve as a toilet since the only alternative was to go out and squat in the snow.
I’m sure it felt like the longest winter in history. By the time spring arrived and the snow melted both Dave and Al were more than ready for a little break from each other’s company. Al moved into an old trailer that he fixed up and Richard took his place in the farmhouse with Dave. The first order of business that summer was to dig a well near the house. What unbelievable luxury it was to have a source of water just a few short steps from the door! They found a discarded bathtub that eventually came to occupy a place of honor right next to the well in the yard. The ease of filling it in its new location took precedence over any need for privacy.