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Carol Perkins: Wood for Sale

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By Carol Perkins

I drove by a sign, "Wood for Sale," and saw piles of good-looking wood beside a store building.

People burn wood to heat their homes and to enjoy the glow of fireplaces but living with this as a means of heat is demanding. I grew up with both a wood stove and electric heat, so I remember the hard work involved.

My grandparents knew no other kind of heat until they were old, and their children modernized their homes. Although the smell of burning wood can be appealing for a minute--like the feeling we have when a fire is going at the Cracker Barrel--the labor involved is not.

My uncle claimed his middle name was "Cut Wood." Cutting wood was a family chore, and often in the coldest weather, when the wood piles got low, the men headed to the woods for more.

Men (and women) cut with an ax before chainsaws. Wood yards were near the house for convenience, so throughout the week, someone would have to split the larger pieces into armloads and lay the sticks on the hearth or in the wood box to last the day and then bring in more for the night. They also had to keep the "cook stove" going all day. The fire burned throughout the night, but the house would be cold by morning. Waking up with a blue nose and stepping onto a cold floor is not just a memory for many.

The fear of housefires consumed my grandparents' thoughts at bedtime. A spark could light up the room where they slept. Another concern was the rooms without wood stoves. Quilts were not luxuries but necessities, piled high over the chilly bodies of children so that all appearing underneath were eyes. I recall spending the night with both grandparents and the weight of those quilts. No one heard of a blanket!

Our way of life has improved, but we continue to have people who are living in cold homes. Some can't find enough wood to last the winter (unless they own land) and others can't afford to buy. They pass on by the "Wood for Sale" sign.

I know we have help for people in need, but sometimes those who are the neediest won't ask. Pride is not a bad thing, but it doesn't keep you warm.

You can contact Carol at

This story was posted on 2024-02-10 13:35:59
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