Today may you find the love Dick Proenneke did, alone but not, 39 years ago today. A journal entry, written by Dick, excerpted from “The Handcrafted Life of Dick Proenneke.”
December 25, 1982:
Partly Cloudy, Calm & 21°
A real nice morning for that special day. A few nights ago I was reminded of Christmas. It was -6° calm and very frosty. By lantern light every busy and spruce sparkled – a million tiny candles winking on and off as I went to the woodshed … On the stump out front I had nailed a big strip of gut fat. I hollered for the birds and it was some minutes before they arrived … Boy oh boy! what a Christmas present. They would work like beavers – get tired and rest for a while and then back at it again. If I called them, they would quit and come to the door for hotcakes.
Everything in order I started to open parcels. Nine in all – excuse me – one in the cache makes it ten. Ten plus small gifts from Glen and Patty, Laddy & Glenda which turned out to be candy and cookies.
Before I got involved I remembered my little turkey bird in the cache. It would be frozen solid and I had better get it thawing …
What a batch of stuff – everything from soup to nuts. Two packages of Beef stick that is very good and will keep well into spring. Two gallons of chopped dried onions. I had ordered one and please write the price on the can so I could pay. Two came and as a gift. Any more I wanted I could pay for. Fruitcake, candy, nuts, a new Taylor thermometer which is a nice one – a tube case with a clip so one can pack it to the mt. top. Dish towels and some material to cover my aluminum foil of the fireplace cover. I find the foil is of benefit in keeping the cabin warm. Heat is reflected back into the living area from it. The excess that I cut off stands against the wall behind my stool next to the stove. Sit there and I can feel the heat reflected from the foil. Items too numerous to mention. Even genuine imported Millet Spray bird feed for caged birds and wild birds. Be interested to learn if I have any birds that will sample it.
Cinnamon drops and lemon drops, dish towels and pot holders and on and on. Nectarines a batch, semisweet chocolate, lentils and white beans and a note “Is there anything we can do for you?” And I suppose the next plane in will have more. I should hang out a sign “Twin Lakes general store.” With the flag flying my cabin has already been mistaken for a Post Office. I do appreciate everything and wish there was some way I could repay everyone for everything for I feel in debt. If only they had all gotten together and sent in a 25 lb. sack of rolled oats from “Nature Kitchen” I would have been “happy as a clam”. It would be evening before I pawed through the boxes again and find Christmas wrapped gifts that I missed first time around. I hate to disturb the contents because I often end up with more than the box will hold when I try to put it back.
Everything neatly stacked in a corner, I did more work on my ice creepers. An uncommon amount of creeper ice this winter. Straps wear and heel claws need replacing.
— Kara Gebhart Uhl