Tri-City Ledger -

By Earline Smith Crews
Guest Columnist 

When things get cold in marriage


January 11, 2018

So we got married at the end of December in 1963. He worked one shift, I worked worked another. Both jobs were at different plants. The bed got changed once a week due to constant usage of different sleeping schedules.

We moved three times in 1964 due to rent cost and the desire of the husband wanting to be closer to his family for helping out with the farm work. It was fine with me as my mother-in-law could cook like no body else since my own mama had passed away and I didn't get to eat her biscuits anymore. Sad to remember how low my priorities lay back then, but there you have it.

We worked, we saved our coins, we got on each others last nerve. I cried, he hugged my neck, we kissed and made up for a New York minute. Then we huffed and puffed again. Life was life in the poor house.

The poor house was a little rental sitting under some pecan trees. It had two bedrooms connected by a bathroom between them, a living room furnished with naugahyde and a hand-me-down Admiral. More snow than Bonanza and Andy Griffith due to tinfoil rabbit ears.

The kitchen/dining room held the stove, a table with matching vinyl covered chairs, a refrigerator, a freezer shoved against the wall filled with all the vegetables we could share and freeze from the family garden. We ate healthy and cheap. A big old enamel sink was built into linoleum covered counters. Everything was super ugly but functional.

The entire house was heated by one big old gas contraption situated in the livingroom between two big windows. That monster was the biggest thing in the whole house. We were diligent in keeping it regulated so as to cut cost.

One work shift happened to overlap for us by about two days so we got to spend some time together without saying "Hi and bye" as we passed like two ships in the night.

That was fun.

So then we had a COLD snap hit us. I'm talking ice in the ditches COLD. The wind came through those old 1940's era windows from every angle. The Shoppers Fair organdy curtains waved as the winds of winter seeped in. We spent the last evening before the "graveyard" shift watching some cheesy TV show and trying to keep from freezing.

I had decided to put the dishes into the big old sink filled with Dawn and hot water to soak off the congealed spaghetti sauce of supper because the kitchen was so cold. I closed the door between the kitchen and the livingroom to try keeping the heat corralled. The bedroom doors were closed also.

"Now, that's better".

We got dressed for work in the livingroom while standing in front of the heater.

Husband decided he better let the water drip in the bathroom sink to keep those exposed lead pipes underneath the house from freezing.

Blip, blip, blip."Think that might do".

I trusted the man I knew nothing about pipe care.

We both headed out to work.

Morning came to show just how COLD it could get in our area by having all the doors on the cars in the plant parking lots sealed shut with ice.

I got home first to find a sheet of ice covering half the livingroom floor. The bathroom sink drain had frozen to allow the water from the faucet to keep flowing, allowing the water to creep over the sides of the sink into the bedrooms, the hallway and across the living room floor. The faucet finally froze shut.

Holding on to the walls and furniture to stay upright was necessary as I skidded around in a frenzy.

We had a problem.

My better half came in to find me lifting off sheets of ice to take outside before we turned on the heat and had to mop up the mess.

He made me feel like a work of wonder when he told me,

" That was smart of you to think of that".

Imagine here, a puppy wagging it's tail. That was my look in getting his approval. Sad!

So when all the ice field was removed and deciding nothing could be done about the frozen water pipes until the temps warmed up we decided to go to bed and deal with the mess of repairs later.

Husband turned off the water at the outside pump, comes back to jump into bed that was COLD.

Our electric blanket never broke the freeze.

Just as we got to the point of drifting off to sleep, an explosion happened in the kitchen.


We jumped up to find the old sink faucet had frozen so tight that it exploded. The thing had hit some spaghetti sauce smeared plates to send shards all over the floor, hit the wall over the freezer and the caught water was spewing everywhere.

We stood looking at the mess and at each other.

He said, "You shoulda washed those dishes".

I said, "Kiss my hind end , I'm sleepy and cold, I'm going to bed".

That was one time when things, GOT COLD IN THE MARRIAGE.


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