Showing posts from November, 2019

More Than A Fire

The chill outside was so brittle cold that your lungs hurt if you breathed in too deeply. Inside, I watched as he carefully selected two small pieces of wood that had been split apart. 
Settling them inside the wood stove, he took a few shreds of paper and wood kindling crisscrossing them over the two pieces.
Satisfied that it was ready, he struck a match and ignited the paper. The damper was open, drawing the smoke upwards. I watched, fascinated as the kindling caught fire, and soon the two small pieces were burning.
He continued to feed the fire, telling me that this was when most wood stove fires could burn up without heating the room. He gradually added two larger pieces of firewood, explaining that it was vital to always have two pieces touching one another.
Looking at me, he asked me to observe how he’d placed the wood. Not smothered together so that they’d smolder and be snuffed out—but crossing over, so that the fire from one would encourage the other to burn. 
Soon the stove warme…

Thank a Vet

If ever there was a country bumpkin, it was Reuben. You’d seldom see him without his coveralls and cowboy hat. He and my dad were best buddies in high school—countless stories of youthful antics were attributed to these two. 
It was said that Reuben could laugh louder than his dad’s pig herds. Upon graduating in 1949, Dad took advantage of the Reserve Officer Training Corps program to help pay his college costs, and Reuben joined his dad full time at his pig farm.

Raising pigs was hard work, but for Reuben’s immigrant family it’s all they knew. When 75,000 soldiers from the Soviet-backed Democratic People’s Republic of Korea poured over the 38th parallel, the Cold War became real. 
In Reuben’s family, supporting their new homeland meant sacrifice—Reuben immediately enlisted. He was in the first wave of American troops sent to support South Korea.
When Dad came home for the summer, he learned that his best friend had left for war. News from the war-torn Korean Peninsula was scarce. While D…