Oh, we had electricity back then. I'm not that old!

But we also used a kerosene lantern quite a bit, too.  Especially in the winter.

It was a small farm house, the one that I grew up in. And while in my memory I like to think of it as ramshackle, truth is it was maybe a little more rundown than my memory allows. The people who bought the old place after my mom and dad moved off...well, they tore that thing down.

But it was home, and a good home to boot.

We were the only place on that stretch of gravel road. And now, more than a half century later, whenever that first winter storm of the season hits, I'm warmly reminded of three things: that farm house, a kerosene lantern and a deck of cards.

The electricity seemed to go off quite a bit in those days. I'm not complainin', I'm sure the electricity folks did the best they could, but when you got them wires strung on those poles and the wind starts blowin' and the snow starts fallin'...well, let's just say dark came early on some of those long ago days.

So dad would make sure the big 'ol oil burner in the living room was good and warm (the linoleum floor got get down right chilly!), put an extra piece or two of wood in the stove in the kitchen and reach up up the shelf and get the kerosene lantern down.

Once the chores were done (are the lights on yet? Nope) that lantern would set on the metal kitchen table and we'd break out the playing cards.

Rummy. That was the game of choice as I remember. Hand after hand after hand. And maybe what warmed us most was the conversation. What was that conversation about? I don't remember. Doesn't matter. Memories tend to bend to the warm side and whatever it was, it was good and warm.

Oh, and the lights? They might come on later that night, but most likely sometime tomorrow or the next day. As long as the water pipes didn't freeze in the hog house, it was all good.

And in my memory, it was more than good. Way more.

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