There’s nothing better than snuggling under a tirade of homemade quilts on a cold, nippy morning. It’s one of my favorite experiences that immediately takes me back to my growing up days on Galvin’s Creek, be it in my family home or spending the night in my Grandma Hudspeth’s house. In those days, central heat and AC was non-existent for most folks, and houses were heated by cozy fireplaces or butane heaters that clung to the wall emitting blue flames that warmed the bones and scorched anything that veered too close. Grandma’s house had an old fireplace that Paw himself chinked fresh every year with clay from the creekbank.
Grandma’s bed was topped with a feather mattress that had to be the softest retreat a body of any age could find. The pillows too were feather, supplied by the duck down from the birds that my daddy and his brothers killed on Catahoula Lake. The sheets were sewn from flour sacks and the quilts were handmade by her sister, whom we called “Aunt Lily.” In the tiny bedroom window was a glass of water placed there in the event we got thirsty, kept cold due to the lack of heat.
I spent many a night snuggled in beside my grandma. Hers was my favorite home away from home and place to stay overnight. Whether winter cold or summer heat, the nighttime ritual was always the same. She knelt on the hard wooden floor beside the bed and lifted her voice to the Lord, covering her family with prayer, calling each and every name, imploring Him to save, protect and keep all of her loved ones. Those prayers, no doubt, carry us through our lifetimes and as a child, I listened intently and waited for my own name to be called. It was always on the list. I remember the feeling of happiness and love in that cold, winter sanctuary.
The next morning, she rose early while I lay hidden under the pile of covers, lit the fireplace and started breakfast. I usually awakened later to the smell of bacon, meat gravy and biscuits in the oven. I can remember running across the cold and creaking wooden floor to the living room to the warmth of the fireplace. Many was the time Grandma backed up to that old fireplace’s warmth and I stood beside her. It was there, in front of that fire, that I enjoyed my hard, fried egg and all the other breakfast staples she lovingly cooked. It wasn’t long before other family members would gather, and the conversations began until the day called them away.
During these latest winter days, when the sun sets and sleep calls, I turn off the central unit in our home, head to the beckoning bed piled high with quilts heavy enough to break a toe, and burrow under the covers. It doesn’t take long for the cold to command the air and sleep to commence. I awaken to a frigid room but a warm bed. I run to the den, light the fireplace and back up to its warmth. Then, I talk to the Lord, calling my family’s names and basking in His presence. It’s homemade happiness that transcends from childhood to the present, and it feels perfectly right.