Warming of the heart during bitter cold winter months

By Randall Franks

The cold wind blew hard against the window pane as I pulled the covers up above my head.

I could barely turn over with the heaviness of the quilts which seemed a foot thick above me.

The back room of Grandma Kitty’s house seemed a long way from the warmth of the stove in the living room.

At least the bedroom was off the kitchen, so when the sounds of rolling dough for biscuits and coffee percolating, most likely, would wake me from slumber before the house filled with the smell of bacon and eggs.

I would lift the covers up so the smells would fill in the gap as I watched my breath raise as I breathed in the smell of breakfast.

My grandmother’s cathead biscuits baking in the oven filled my room with enough aroma to evoke a desire to jump out of bed. Usually that effort would take a time or two. I would muster the strength to throw back the covers only to feel my bare feet hitting the cold floor, just to jump back in pulling the hand sewn quilts of patchwork back over my head.

Soon I would garner the courage to jump out of bed again finding my socks and shoes slipping them on after I pulled up my britches, then I would pull back the curtain to see Grandma Kitty making her way around the kitchen. In the corner sat the butter churn that the day before I wore out my arm on making the butter that we would put on the cathead biscuits.

Grandma was pouring the grease off the bacon and sausage getting ready to stir up some sawmill gravy.

I stood quietly watching the artistry of someone who had for 60 plus years raised before dawn to prepare a meal to keep a family working. Though there wasn’t as much to do and fewer to do it, she still went through the ritual with the joy that the eating would bring to the family as they gathered around the table.

Eventually, my quiet vantage point would catch her eye as she turned to place some meats on the table and she would beckon me towards her and I would hug her and then find myself consumed with helping until the others joined us as she called everyone from slumber.

It is amazing how the cold outside seemed to disappear around the warmth of her table and the love that found its way seated around it. I pray you find the warmth of your heart as the cold wind blows on your window pane.

Randall Franks is an award-winning musician, singer and actor. He is best known for his role as “Officer Randy Goode” on TV’s “In the Heat of the Night” now on WGN America. His latest 2019 # 1 CD release, “Americana Youth of Southern Appalachia,” is by the Share America Foundation. He is a member of the Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame. His latest book is “A Badge or an Old Guitar: A Music City Murder Mystery.” He is a syndicated columnist for and can be reached at