We huddled close to the big woodstove to soak up all of its glowing warmth. The sun had just set on this Christmas Eve of 1953, and it was nice to be inside after a long afternoon of playing in the snow.

Dad had filled the wood box to overflowing and stacked a couple of extra loads on the floor beside it, enough to get us through Christmas day without having to make a trip to the woodpile. We kids had helped carry the wood from the pile to the backdoor, wood that Dad had cut and drug from the woods the spring before so it would be well seasoned for winter.

Splitting and stacking it was a family job, with Dad doing the splitting and we kids doing the stacking. It took a lot of wood to keep our old drafty farmhouse warm all winter. I don