– by Alyce Faye Bragg
Winter storm Jonas roared through our hills this past weekend like an angry lion, covering most of our state in two feet or more of snow before moving out to the East Coast and leaving us to dig out. It was the biggest snowfall that we’d seen in twenty years, as we sheltered in place and waited out the storm.
Fortunately, we had plenty of warning from the weathercasters as they predicted this winter storm, and thus was able to make preparations before it hit us. Generators were readied for use, plenty of groceries were stocked as we waited. Luckily, our electric power stayed on but everything else came to a standstill.
The roads were impassable and by living on a rural road, we had to wait until the primary roads were plowed. No automobiles on the road, no work vehicles, no mail delivery, no newspaper. We were thrown on our own resources. On Sunday the temperature moderated, and the grandchildren exulted in the snow piled wide and deep. They dove in the snow banks, made forts and had snowball fights. They loved it!
Just before cabin fever began to set in, the roads opened up and the snow slowly began to thaw. Huge mounds of snow began to slide from the metal roofs, and spots of bare earth is showing on the road banks. Things are slowly returning to normal and the excitement of the “big snow” is dying down.
Next week is Groundhog Day, and I wonder what his reaction would be if he had to tunnel through this snow to make his forecast? I am sure he would dive back in his warm burrow to sleep awhile longer. It always seems that spring is close when Groundhog Day arrives, whether he sees his shadow or not. February usually brings us the little coltsfoot flowers, which are the first flower of spring.
This little yellow flower, which resembles a tiny dandelion, appears before the leaves. Coltsfoot has been recognized as a remedy for coughs and respiratory ailments since antiquity. The generic name, Tussilago, means “cures a cough” and the large leaves are shaped like a horse’s hoof. Recent scientific findings have shown coltsfoot extracts to have anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties.
The leaves should be gathered in June and July, and carefully dried. Cough syrup can be made by steeping an ounce of fresh leaves in a quart of water, and then boiled down to one pint. Sweetened with honey, this makes an excellent cough medicine and is good for any irritation of the lungs.
I have made cough drops by using an ounce of fresh coltsfoot leaves to a pint of water and boiling it down until there is only a cupful of liquid left. Strain, and add two cups of sugar to the liquid and boil until it reaches the hard ball stage (a drop of this syrup forms a hard ball when dropped into cold water.) This can be poured out onto a buttered cookie sheet and scored into cough drop sized pieces. This is tasty as well as effective; sort of resembling horehound candy.
We have had some good comments about the column concerning dreams, and I want to share them with you. My good friend Ross Fortner writes, “I am a firm believer in dreams. The ones where we remember every detail are indeed messages. I have been visited by my departed loved ones and they are young, healthy and happy. These dreams usually come when they are really needed to help us over a hump in life.”
Brenda Mitchell relates that when one of her friend’s mother was passing, she described seeing babies in heaven. She described in detail of straightening their wings and dresses. I was with my Aunt Addie the night she passed away, and right before she went into a coma, she raised her arms heavenward and cried, “Oh, I see Mommy and Dad! I see Carol Ann (her baby who died at 18 months) and I see Jesus!” I’m sure she did.
My sister Mary Ellen’s youngest son was killed in a car wreck years ago when he was only 19. After years of sorrow and grieving, and wondering about his fate, he came to her in a dream recently and told her, “I am happy!” That was such a comfort to her.
My cousin Bobby, (Frank Samples) told me that Mom’s ESP was inherited from her mother, Grandma Laura Dodd Samples. His mother Vanna had related many things that Grandma had told her–things that had no explanation. There are so many things that we don’t understand–and things that we really don’t need to understand. God has a perfect plan for this life, and He holds the future in His hand.
One of the most beautiful pictures that I have ever seen is the old woman, bowed with years, passing through the door way of Death, and appearing on the other side as a young, vital girl in the prime of her youth. No, we cannot comprehend many things. The Bible tells us in 1Cor. 13:12,
“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known.”
Our task is to be faithful to God, and trust Him. “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” (1Cor. 2:9)
DEATH IS A DOOR
By Nancy Byrd Turner
Death is only an old door
Set in a garden wall.
On quiet hinges it gives at dusk,
When the thrushes call.
Along the lintel are green leaves,
Beyond, the light lies still;
Very weary and willing feet
Go over that sill.
There is nothing to trouble any heart,
Nothing to hurt at all.
Death is only an old door
In a garden wall.