Switchin' Flies

By Barney Nelson.

I grew up on my grandmother's stockfarm in rural Iowa. Our Christmases were always white ones. Iowans measure snow in feet not inches, and the temperature never rises above freezing, often dipping into the minus 20s or even 30s. All the roads from our farm for at least 30 miles in any direction were dirt or gravel and in winter often drifted shut for weeks. The U.S. Post office delivered mail to rural residents, but not to the front door. Our mailbox was a mile away. My grandmother wrote and received lots of letters, especially from twelve sisers and brothers scattered from Wisconsin to Montana. No matter what the weather, she bundled up, buckled on her old black overshoes, tied a wool scarf over her head and another across her face, and trudged that mile through deep snow to get the mail and to mail what she had written.
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