Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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The ghost of Christmases past

on December 26, 2009

 This time of year gets us all reminiscing about past Christmases, myself included. I remember one year in the late 70’s when I got a Simon game and I thought I was hella cool. I think I remember that one more because I’ve seen a picture of myself holding that crazy game with a big smile on my face.  We didn’t have a fireplace, but Santa always made it to our house. I should ask my mom if I ever questioned how he came to us without one. My son has asked me what about those kind of things. I just say it’s Santa magic. What else can I say?

With our Christmas blizzard this year, I was thinking back to our last snow-covered Christmas.  It was 7 years ago and I remember the days leading up to it more than I remember the day itself. My husband’s dear, sweet grandfather had been very ill with pancreatic cancer and passed away a few days before Christmas. We drove 2-1/2 hours away for the funeral on December 23. Terrible time for a funeral, yes. But the gift of that situation was that he was no longer in any pain and was reunited with his beloved Helena.

His grandfather had been a farmer most of his life, until he’d gotten older and all of his children were grown, then they moved to a home in town, where it would be easier for them to get around, especially in the bad weather.

We were in the tiny, one-red-light-flashing town my mother-in-law grew up in for the funeral. Everyone had come in the day before because it was quite a jaunt to get there. We enjoyed everyone’s company the night before and stayed the night with an aunt and uncle who lived just a few doors down from grandpa’s house.

When we woke up on that sad December morning, it was snowing. Not just snow, but the big, fat, feathery flakes that are so beautiful when they fall. And let me tell you, they were coming down hard and fast. Within an hour of us getting up, there was probably an inch on the ground and it was getting deeper by the minute.  We made jokes that it was grandpa’s final practical joke. He was a farmer and because of that, he had a serious dislike of snow and inclement weather; it prevented him from doing the work he needed to do on the farm.

We watched in amazement at the ever-deepening blanket of white. The children giggled and squealed with delight, since we don’t see snow here every year.

The funeral went off as planned, but several sisters-in-law and myself stayed at the church hall with the children while the others went to the cemetary. It was way too cold and windy to have several young children out in it.

We all piled in the car for the drive home, becoming increasingly nervous at the thought of driving 2-1/2 hours in blowing snow. My sister-in-law and her husband were in the back seat, along with our two year-old son. We chose a route we thought would be well cleared to drive home, only finding out later that we had unwittingly driven right into the heart of the storm.

We were on a divided highway, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by rolling hills and farms, which gave no shelter or breaks to the blowing, blinding snow. I have a feeling much of the snow that day actually fell in Kansas, but was blown into Oklahoma and probably ended up in Texas. My husband has lived in several northern, snow-covered states and is well acquainted with driving in snow, so I trusted him to get us home safely, but that didn’t prevent me from having white knuckles.

The snow deepened, the storm intensified until we were barely able to see the road. We were trying to follow in the tracks of other cars in front of us, but when it’s blowing and snowing so hard, the tracks get covered very quickly, making it difficult to tell where you are actually driving.

My husband was doing a fine job of navigating in this horrible situation. Driving blind is quite a feat for anyone. We were crawling along when he made a noise and I looked ahead to see what he was looking at. There was a minivan in the center median and people standing outside it surveying the damage, probably trying to decide if they could get out of their current predicament.

Then he made another sound as he looked into the rear-view mirror. I turned to see what he was looking at: a semi-truck barreling its way down the inside lane, on a direct course for those people standing in the median. My sister-in-law and her husband saw it too and my husband let off the gas, to give this idiot room to get in front of us rather than mow down these poor people stranded in the blizzard.

We were all literally holding our breath, waiting to see if the jackass truck driver would make it. I closed my eyes, fearing what I might see and what would be a tragic scene that would surely be burned into my retinas for life. Thankfully, Mr. shit-for-brains managed to get his big rig over in time to miss those people.  But probably not before they messed their pants seeing what was going to happen. I think those people had some guardian angels on double duty that day, because he narrowly avoided completely destroying them.

The rest of the drive was difficult at best. We ended up most of the way on a turnpike, which, thankfully, was mostly cleared, but after that nerve-shattering experience, we were all on edge. A drive that normally took 2-1/2 hours took 6 hours that day. I don’t remember exactly, but I think I kissed the floor when we walked into our house that day. One of my brothers-in-law who lived 4 hours beyond us decided that the drive was not worth it and stayed the night with us that night. Their nerves couldnt’ take it either.

Needless to say, that Christmas stands out in my mind for several reasons. The positive thing that stands out in my mind from it, was telling my mother that we were going to have another child. I wish I’d had the camcorder going, but I gave her the stick, the pregnancy test, wrapped in tissue paper and in a lovely gift bag and saved it for last. She very gingerly unwrapped it, as if it were something very delicate and breakable, and looked at it puzzled for a moment before she realized what it was. Then she did the squeal/jump up and down happy dance. I think we could’ve made it to AFV with that one. if nothing else, it would’ve been fun to show to our daughter, who was the reason for that dance.

Now, that is the most exciting Christmas in my recent memory, but I like the ones like we had yesterday, very mellow, laid back and peaceful, no drama is a good thing!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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