Memories of a childhood in a very cold town

I grew up in an extremely cold part of the country.

We often experienced sub-zero temperatures in the dead of winter, or at least single-digit temperatures on a regular basis in December and January.

Sometimes the cold and snow would refuse to release its grip on my hometown, and we would still be getting snow in early May! Mom and Dad wanted us kids to return home at dusk when the neighborhood lamp lights would turn on, not just for our safety from strangers, but also the extreme temperatures that would roll in as the evenings began. Needless to say, making sure that our furnace was maintained and operable throughout the summer was practically a matter of life and death. Dad worked on our old oil furnace on a regular basis, tinkering with it to make sure that it was working as well as it possibly could. He would always buy the oil as soon as possible to ensure that we never ran out. Dad made sure we had other countermeasures to combat the extreme cold. He did not trust the safety of space heaters but we did have them on hand in case our furnace failed. We also had a very large hearth in the living room. Every now and then, in order to save money on a winter evening, dad would put a few logs on the fire and turn down the heat. I remember those evenings fondly, especially around Christmas time, where we would all gather around the fireplace with hot cocoa and popcorn, and other treats, and fellowship with one another.

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