aka Ol' Dry Diggins, but not always!
Finishing his story, Uncle Mark tended the mules, and then heated a blanket for himself and retired upstairs. I was left to sit up with Lidge and keep the heater stoked. Outside the storm continued. The sleet came down fitfully against the window, and periodically a gust of wind would find its way down the stovepipe and the old cast iron heater would belch smoke from around its’ damper and its’ red hot lid. After a while the rough plank roof began dripping and leaking like a sieve, and one by one a strategically placed company of pots and kettles joined in a chorus of plops, plinks, and piddles, as they filled quickly with their captured leakage and began to splash rhythmically on the rip sawn floor.
Around two o’clock in the morning, I stoked the fire and reheated Lidge’s brick. Lidge was resting peacefully, but his face was still hot and he was sweating profusely. I dried his face and adjusted his blankets. Clearing a spot on the frosted window I squinted and peered outside. The storm was relenting and I began to see some stars. I warmed a blanket for myself, kicked back in my chair and leaned against the wall. I remember watching the firelight from the damper, dancing on the wall behind the stove, and then the cobwebs came and the darkness took me in. OBIE’S QUEST