Keep­ing winter mem­o­ries alive will warm the heart

The Covington News - - OPINION - DOROTHY PIEDRAHITA COLUM­NIST Dorothy Fra­zier Piedrahita wel­comes reader com­ments. She can be reached at ufra­zier2001@ ya­

This past week, we came to know the mean­ing of “Po­lar Vor­tex.” The cold con­verged on Mid­west and the Eastern re­gions of the coun­try without mercy. Health is­sues be­came a mat­ter of life and death for hu­mans and other an­i­mals. Frost­bite was threat­en­ing ex­posed skin. Schools were closed, and peo­ple were told to stay in­doors. More than 1,000 flights were can­celed. It was too dan­ger­ous for the news re­porters to con­tinue re­port­ing on how dan­ger­ous it was. If some of us had for­got­ten words like “Fahren­heit” and “hy­pother­mia,” we re­mem­bered them in a hurry.

Winter is a sea­son I sim­ply love. I own a heavy green coat that was made in Rus­sia; it is my con­stant out­er­wear from De­cem­ber through the winter months. I also en­joy wear­ing other winter cloth­ing: tweeds, gloves and hats. I al­ways se­lect col­or­ful out­er­wear; the colors make me smile on days that seem gloomy or mys­te­ri­ous.

I of­ten won­der what hap­pens to plants in our yards. As a child, I used to think that the trees and plants went to sleep in the winter. I would imagine them with coats, try­ing to keep warm. Most of them will make it through the hard winters, though, sadly, some will die.

The story I am about to tell you ac­tu­ally hap- pened to me. Some of you may be able to re­late. Friends who have heard this have been speech­less af­ter­ward.

It was the winter of 1987. I was alone in my home; my son was away in col­lege. Some­time dur­ing the night, my heat­ing sys­tem stopped func­tion­ing. Around 2 a.m., my bed­side phone rang. On the phone, a voice called me by my mid­dle name; only fam­ily mem­bers call me by that name.

The pleas­ant voice called my name three times, and then I felt a cold­ness sweep over my body. The top of my head was cold. I felt like I was freez­ing.

I got out of bed and dis­cov­ered that the fur­nace wasn’t work­ing. It was so cold in the house that some of my fa­vorite plants were dy­ing.

I needed heat fast. I re­mem­bered that my fa­ther had given me a kerosene heater, so I went to my garage to get some kerosene and the heater. They warmed up the room quickly. Of course, I opened a win­dow for safety’s sake.

I went back to sleep. Later that morn­ing, I awoke and thought about that voice that had called to me. I was baf­fled. I also felt ill, so I called my doc­tor and ar­ranged an of­fice visit.

When I told him what had hap­pened, he said it was a good thing that voice awak­ened me, be­cause I might have frozen to death.

He said there are oc­cur­rences that can’t be ex­plained, and that the phone call was one of them. Do not con­cern your­self about what hap­pened, he said; just be pleased the call woke you up.

To this day, I won­der about that night. My fa­ther had died in Oc­to­ber of 1986, and I be­lieve that was his voice. That mys­te­ri­ous, sweet voice of winter saved my life. The only per­son I knew who had frozen to death was a friend of my fa­ther’s in Alabama.

This winter of 2014 will never be for­got­ten. I won’t for­get a phone call I re­ceived last week from my hus­band, who is a trucker.

Those of you who are truck­ers or are mar­ried to truck­ers know that we are fear­ful in the winter months. Last week my trucker spouse al­most had a rollover. Luck­ily, a snow bank stopped the truck. He sent me a video of his ac­ci­dent. I was happy to see that it wasn’t re­ally a bad ac­ci­dent and he wasn’t harmed. The smart phone is a won­der­ful in­ven­tion, isn’t it?

What about you? What will be your winter 2014 story? Have you doc­u­mented this his­tor­i­cal winter? If you haven’t, write about it. You may find that writ­ing your mem­o­ries will bring forth that writer in­side of you.

Winter also is a won­der­ful time for cook­ing. I bake bread only in the winter months. As I was writ­ing this today, I de­cided I would bake some bread to go with a home­made turkey, beans and rice dish. I’ll have honey and warm but­ter to go with the home­made bread, a per­fect winter meal.

I don’t have moun­tain views from my home, but I do en­joy the vista of the small wooded area in my back yard.

My land­scape is my per­sonal get­away at any time of the year, but the winter is a spe­cial time when my dog and I just walk to­gether.

Keep warm and en­joy our won­der­ful winter months.

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