If you want to know the real forecast for this winter, just take a look up into the trees or on the ground. The squirrels are building nests the size of mansions, and I’ve found two black wooly worms in my garage. Meteorologists don’t have anything on rodents and bugs. I’ll take heed to their predictions before anything else.

Dad would always go into Ice Age mode with the first snowstorm of the year, making sure every faucet was dripping and plastic bags on anything that might allow cold air in.

When I’d go to check on him it wasn’t unusual to find a stack of phone books blocking the bottom of the front door and towels at every window sill. Flashlights had been checked and positioned in every room. He was always prepared for the worst.

People make fun of the run to the stores for bread and milk, and I’ll admit I do the same. Maybe not bread and milk, but I did be sure to stock up on some chocolate chip pumpkin bread and, just to balance it out, some salad.

We ask the grandkids each year, the weekend after Thanksgiving, to come over and decorate the tree and house although a blizzard kept that from happening. We rescheduled for this weekend, which turned out to be a good thing, as it gave me time to go through the eight large tubs of Christmas décor.

I don’t feel like I’m a hoarder of things, with the exception of items that belonged to my mom or grandma. No matter how tattered or dusty, broken or musty, I can’t part with any of it, although the last few years these items had fallen to the bottom of the tub and had no longer been used.

I found the Mr. and Mrs. Claus mom had made, (I have two sets of them as she had made one for me and one for herself) both with their heads or arms missing, hair looking like they’ve been in a wind machine and rumpled clothing. They had been kept company with the numerous hand crocheted hanging banners with Christmas sayings grandma had made along with several hand painted cookie trays.

Mom and grandma had inherited the “artist” gene, and although I came up short in that department, I feel fortunate to still have so many of their hand-crafted items.

About the only thing I’m going to be able to pass onto my kids will be the memories preserved through the writing of this column along with tubs of Christmas décor.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus have been put back together, hair combed, clothes straightened. The crocheted banners have been ironed, the trays dusted.

I can’t wait to show the grandkids what their great-grandma and great-great-grandma made and will hopefully be placed on their fireplace mantels one day.

Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at sandydownhome@hotmail.com