Pipes Walking through the Snow
September 1990

“Pipes Walking through the Snow,” Ensign, Sept. 1990, 56

Pipes Walking through the Snow

I had recently become a single mother, and my three small sons and I had moved to an old family cabin located in the San Bernardino National Forest. During the winter months, because we did not have central heating in the cabin, we became accustomed to closing off most of the rooms. We began living, playing, and sleeping in just one room besides the kitchen.

I will never forget the first time my new home teachers, George Stehmeier and his son Richard, came to visit. As they sat in the living room, they noticed that my children were wearing parkas and that our home seemed unusually cold.

Viewing their chilly discomfort, I volunteered to place another log on the fire. They laughed at the suggestion and said, “If your boys can tough it out, so can we!” Then, in earnest, Brother Stehmeier asked, “What’s wrong with your heating system?”

I smiled. “Nothing’s wrong with the heating system. We just don’t have one.” The conversation then moved to other subjects.

Before leaving, Brother Stehmeier asked my boys to show him the other rooms. Gleefully they took him and his son throughout the old, rambling cabin, showing him their secret hideouts.

The next day, Sunday, Brother Stehmeier stood in his high priests group meeting and asked his brethren, “What would you say if I told you that a young woman and her three small children were living in our mountains with no heating system?” Some responded that they wouldn’t believe it. He then said, “Well, there is, and that young woman is a member of our ward. Her name is Susan Easton.”

On Monday afternoon, four-year-old Brian looked out the window and said, “Mom, there are some pipes walking through the snow.”

I thought Brian was making up a story until he pulled me to the window and pointed outside. Sure enough, several pipes were coming up the mountain—on the backs of some of the high priests from the ward. They were carrying in a heating system for us.

They spent the better part of the day installing the pipes and assorted parts, crawling and squeezing where only spiders had ventured before. I opened up cans of tomato soup and tuna fish to feed them as they worked.

At last they finished. As I tested the system for the first time, it wasn’t just physical warmth that flooded the cabin. Love and gratitude also filled our hearts. Not only would we have heat during the winter, but we had built a warm bond of friendship that would last throughout the years.

  • Susan Easton Black, an associate professor of Church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University, serves as stake Relief Society president in the Brigham Young University Eleventh Stake.