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In 2013, I wrote. "The Quiet Season: Remembering Country Winters".  After the book was published, I believed that people who knew anything at all about winter, and that included a bunch of folks besides me, would not read it. How wrong I was.

People love telling their winter stories, sharing the cold temperatures they remembered, how the snow was so deep it came up to the telephone wires, when roads were blocked with snow drifts for sometimes more than a week. People have liked comparing their winter stories with mine.

For instance, I wrote about how on a cold wintry Monday wash day, my mother, using a wringer washing machine powered by a Briggs and Stratton gasoline engine, washed clothes. That is, after Pa spent an hour cussing at the little engine that insisted on not starting. After running the clothes through the ringer, my mother hung them outside, on clothes lines that began near the outhouse, and nearly reached to the woodshed. 

Within a few minutes everything on the clothes line froze stiff, from the long underwear to the blue denim overalls. When I arrived home from school, mother had fetched the frozen clothes from the line, and stood the long underwear and overalls around the kitchen. It looked ever so much like we had company, albeit they all looked a little stiff and lacking in words.

Winter was a time for resting, just as the grape vines in this photo are resting, waiting for the snow to melt and spring to arrive.

The Old Timer Says: What would people have to talk about if there was no winter?

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work go to www.jerryapps.com. 

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