I realized recently that my recreational writing has come to a standstill! Allow me to remedy that with a heartwarming/footwarming story from the Grandpa Ezra files…
Nana Melton used to tell me this story and I remember it every time I have an experience with cold feet. These days, for me, those feet have little digits on them, as they’re always attached to young’ns.
Nana and Pappy Melton spent their 49 years together in the flatlands of Illinois in an old farm house built on the rich soil near the mighty Mississippi River. As all farmers did and do, Pap rose before the sun to get things started for the day. (No time to be lounging about like the star that heats our sky when there’s a farm to run!)
I spent a great deal of time on that farm and in that farmhouse and I can remember their bedroom vividly. It was at the front of the house on the 2nd floor, overlooking the driveway over the front door. Their bed was right in the middle of the room, between the two main windows that were veiled in some sort of antique white lace or material that I’m sure Nana Melton herself made, although I can’t state it as fact. The setting is important.
Now imagine a young Nana (Goldie) Melton (not that the age matters, as the way I understand it, this scene played out for all their many years together) scurrying up the steps in the fall of 1940 to the frigid, unheated, 2nd floor bedroom where young Pap (Harl Ezra) had already warmed the bed in preparation for his pre-dawn date with tomorrow. Goldie hops in bed and is drawn to young Harl’s warmth, where she immediately presses her ice cold feet up against Harl’s toasty warm legs in order to soak up that love! This is the part that Nana seemed amazed at every single time she told me that story- Pappy didn’t flinch, not once ever according to Goldie, did Harl withdraw his warm legs from this icy attack on them.
“I knew he must really truly love me, to put up with that every night for his whole life!” ~Nana Goldie Melton.
Knowing Pappy Harl Ezra Melton as I did and do, I just bet he never once considered that an important marital trait or sacrifice, but rather one of the little quirks he loved about his young love Goldie. I’m just betting.
Fast forward a couple of generations and many decades, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t find myself a young love who also had cold feet! I used to tell her that story when she would press her own cold feet up against me, and even though it didn’t bother me at all, I would feign a complaint here and there to remind her how much I loved her, to put up with that my whole life! It became a little game between us, especially in the early years when it was just the two of us on the unheated 2nd floor of our own little farm house.
Fast forward again now even more decades and one more generation and you’ll find me with two new very different, but very inspiring young loves. The boy only attacks long enough to get his toes warm again, not even long enough for circulation to return to the whole foot! Before I have a chance to make room in the chair, he’s off again. The girl is still young enough that I can talk her into staying a bit to cuddle while her whole foot gets toasty, and she’s still small enough that two of us can fit in that big chair in the living room. Recently, I found myself fortunate to be on the couch for one of these attacks, and all of the above was leisurely floating about in my head while the little one’s toes ebbed precious heat from my legs… She looked at me with those big brown eyes and grinned a little before her ‘out with it’… Only, she didn’t have to tell me to come out with it, instead she outted it for me in my own words, as she often does…
“I know what you’re thinking about. You’re thinking about that story that you told us that Nana told you, and about all the times Mom warmed her feet on your legs.”
Good call, Baby. That was sometime in the late fall, and I made a post-it note to be certain this gem didn’t get left out of the history books. It was buried on my desk with other various treasures. Thank goodness I rarely clean my desk!
I almost used the word ‘sadly’ here, but I think it would be the wrong way to see this story. Unfortunately, Pappy Melton died in 1990, a full decade before my son was born to proudly carry his name. He never got to meet the man that he hears so much about through these stories. Yet, a man who positively shapes the lives of those who carry his genes long after he is gone is also a man who lived his life right. I doubt Pap ever sat around trying to think up ways to make that happen. Fate makes that happen in gratitude for a job well done.
Sometimes, in my parenting haze, I want to ask, “If your feet are cold, why are you running around the house without socks???” But then, if their feet weren’t cold, how would this story meet my Great Grandkids?
Cheers from The www.ThreeFiveZero.com Cold Feet