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Upgrades make houses cozy for holidays

Prime Time

Another year is nearly over and I also have a birthday coming up soon. Since it is close to Christmas, any parties that I had were also Christmas gatherings. Now we get together at my daughter Teresa’s home for a family dinner that usually includes my birthday — a good way to celebrate.

As I reflect back, my mind has a difficult time getting around all the changes I have seen over the years. Actually, it is mind-boggling. Changes in our home, in our food, our cars, electronics and more seem overwhelming.

But I have lived through them and enjoyed the early years because what we had was all I knew.

The first home I remember was heated with a big stove in the middle of the living room along with Mom’s cook stove in the kitchen. The living room stove would burn either wood or coal, but to save money, we sawed a lot of wood to burn. It was readily available just for sawing it up and getting it to the house.

Keeping a wood box full was one of the jobs for us four boys in our family. Then someone had to carry out the ashes every day from the wood fire. Mom’s kitchen stove needed smaller wood that had to be split from larger logs.

When we got old enough to safely handle an axe, splitting wood became a regular chore. It was a great day when Mom got a new electric kitchen stove that eliminated those various chores. She always did a great job of cooking on that wood-burning stove and had to adjust to the electric one.

We didn’t have running water in our home until sometime when I was in high school. We went out to the pump and pumped our water and carry it in for drinking, cooking and bathing that was done in a big round bath tub that we carried in where it was warm. Showers were unheard in those early years.

Today, our home has a gas furnace and air conditioning with an adjustable thermostat. I would not want to go back to the big stove in the living room.

We did, at one time, own a home that had a wood-burning fireplace that we enjoyed. It was inefficient and brought in a lot of dirt and ashes, but it took us back to earlier years. We have sealed unit gas fireplace today that burns outside air. We turn it on just by flipping a switch on the wall.

Our first car that I remember didn’t have a heater. Mom would heat up some soap stones in her oven and put them on the floor of the car to help keep us warm. Car radios were not yet invented. Compare that car to ones we buy today with automatic transmissions, power windows, air conditioning and much more.

If someone would have told me years ago that we would have an appliance in our living room that would bring us news and all kinds of programs in pictures, I would not have believed them. Now we get most anything we want on TV, some good and, to me, some worthless.

As I have gotten older, I find my life changing. I am not able to travel much and am content to work around home or sit in my easy chair with my morning coffee and read the newspaper. I still enjoy that morning newspaper even though all kinds of news are available on TV.

On a cold, snowy day, it is enjoyable to turn on the fireplace, relax and watch it snow. I think about those who have to be out keeping the roads clear and doing other necessary jobs to keep us safe and comfortable.

Christmas is coming up soon and I hope you will have an enjoyable and blessed one.

Parker is an independent writer for the Tribune Chronicle. Contact him at jbparker149@gmail.com.

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