As cold as I remember on one side

It was already the dark of the night when I went out to the woodpile and gathered as many pieces of wood as my little arms would hold. I tried to get into the back door but could not manage to figure out how to turn the tarnished brass doorknob while keeping my load.
It was freezing outside, and it was not much warmer inside. I scrambled at the door long enough to see my breath fogging up the panes of glass in the door.
Perhaps that is what Grandma noticed as she opened the door and said, “Get in here boy before you freeze to death.”
“Yesum,” I said as I rushed through the kitchen into the darkened living room. There sitting about three feet from the wall was a pot-bellied stove on a large piece of metal on the floor.
I was in kindergarten when my Grandma Kitty moved to a smaller farm in a rural area outside Dayton, Tenn. This was our first winter visit at the old four-room house.
She was much closer to town and her brothers and sisters than before, but still the move wasn’t as joyous as one might think.
She left behind the place she and Grandpa had called home and raised their family. A homestead where our family had lived since the first family member crossed the mountains in his coonskin cap with a musket in hand and looked out and said this will be home.
As a boy I cherished any attention that my grandmother gave me. On the rarest occasion her cracked tan skin tightened revealing a smile that could wake up the sun. I knew in those moments that she had found something within her soul that reached up and shook her from beneath the 70 years of struggle, pain, and loss that seem to blanket her in those days after she said goodbye to Grandpa Bill.
I still remember hearing Aunt Duck saying as I dropped the wood in the box next to the stove – “ Randy did a good job. Didn’t he do a good job.”
I looked over my shoulder to see my grandmother leaning now in the doorway between the living room and her and Aunt Duck’s bedroom. The pale blue curtain that separated the rooms draped over her shoulder accenting the glimmer in her eyes as my mother opened the stove door and placed a log inside. Although it slipped away quickly like the heat gained on your warm side once turned from the stove, but for a moment, on her wearied face was a smile.
I don’t know if was having a little one trying to make his way in her world that drew her out or if in the flame of the stove she saw remnants of a memory in which she lost herself.
But for that moment for me, it was what I needed to see before crawling under 30 pounds of quilts in the back room bed and watching my breath rise above me. I moved my legs trying to warm the bed only to feel colder while all the time praying that I would not have a need to run to the outhouse.