Friday, January 11, 2019

Was a time…

In the 1950s and early 1960s, Northeast Texas got one, maybe two, hard freezes every winter, when the temperature at night dropped to the low 20s, high teens. We got ground-covering snow maybe every five years.

When weathermen forecast a hard freeze, my job was to drain the pipes. My family lived near Rocky Branch, Texas, then, seven of us in a two-bedroom, one-bath house. The house had a well with a pump and running water, indoors. That was the first house we lived in that had indoor plumbing.

On nights of a hard freeze forecast, after all us kids had a bath, my mother washed the tub and then filled it with water, so we could dip water and fill up the toilet tank and flush the toilet. Then, she would fill up all the cook pots and a couple of wash basins, giving us drinking water and water to heat on the stove, if the water pipes remained frozen.

Somewhere between 10 and 10:30 p.m., I turned off the water pump, and, with a flash light and a crescent wrench, went to the north side of the house, where there was access to the water pipes. I pulled the piece of tin roofing from the hole there and took off the pipe cap at the junction. Water remaining in the pipes drained onto the ground. Thinking nowdays, it seems the night was always extra dark and moonless, and colder than ever.

These days, from posts by family and friends, Northeast Texas has three or four or five hard freezes every winter, and more ice storms and snow than we used to get.

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