Sunday, December 24, 2006

Coming Home

Hi,” said the owl with his head so white,
“Another day and a lonesome night,
I thought I heard a pretty girl say,
She’ll court all night and sleep all day.”

We were singing that in the van as we rounded the corner Saturday night, headed for home. Monsieur was at home, making something yummy for dinner and I knew what it would be. It was his delicious beef and lamb and venison stew, and before you say it, yes, that’s little baby calf and woolly fluffy lamb and Bambi, dammit. I loves me a big bowlful of Disney.
We rounded the corner, as I was saying, and though the temperature was over 35° F there was a little patch of ice that my rear wheel slid across and cause my back end to fishtail and slide. I overcompensated, like a greenhorn inexperienced driver, and ended up spinning around the other way, facing the wrong direction with my van’s tail end in the drainage ditch, stuck. I spun my wheels only for a second, and then got out to make sure I was truly stuck. I checked all three kids, then turned off the ignition and called Monsieur.
“Can your Volvo bio-diesel station wagon pull a Dodge minivan out of a ditch?” I asked. We were only two minutes by car from the front door, on the loop road. However, it would have been a forty-five minute walk on a muddy road with three small boys.
“Not likely,” he said. “P equals MV squared, I always say. In times of great inclinations such as this, I recommend a man who could pull a train.”
In ten minutes, Skip the Gay Rancher, our friend and neighbor showed up on his Ford 846 tractor with a tow bar and chain. Monsieur was riding on the tow bar. He hopped off and helped Skip to hook the chain around the axle of the minivan. The boys stood by in the sleet and watched. They could not be convinced to sit in the warm van during such an adventure. They watched, all their faces the image of seriousness.
We were towed out in a moment, and we thanked Mr. Skip and invited him to dinner with us, which he refused in a good-natured way. But he did promise to stop by for Christmas Day.
All of use piled into the van. Monsieur took the wheel after I asked him to, not trusting my luck. He drove us home while we finished singing our song:

Hi,” said the jaybird sittin’ in a tree,
“When I was a young man I had three.
Two got sassy and took to flight,
And the one that’s left don’t treat me right.”

It was dark, darker than I thought it should be and then I remembered, one of the longer nights of the year had already begun and it was only 5:20 in the afternoon. No, it was in the evening. The sun had gone down behind Blue Hill. I thought to myself how different the rain in Texas was, so much colder that the snow in Kansas at this time. In a week’s time, the Texas rain would give way and the cold weather would be gone. I was getting used to it, the winter that didn’t come and the cold snaps that did. I had my gloves on. I hugged my knees to my chest and thought of home. I looked up and the house was covered from the eaves to the shrubbery in white, purple, red, blue and green Christmas lights. I know I had stopped calling Kansas home but I still called it “back home,” as in, “I probably won’t be going ‘back home’ this year.” Now, Kansas is “my parent’s place” and all I could think last night was, “It’s great to finally be back home after a long day.”
“Oh, my goodness,” was all I could say.
Through the rain it looked like a postcard. The lights twinkled and glimmered in a shimmered, watercolor effect. The kitchen light was on, and there was a fire burning outside in the fire pit. It smelled of burning pine needles and cedar logs, and of chestnuts.
When we got inside the air was heavy with the smell of ragout and rising bread dough, and of brandy cooking in something sweet.
“Yum,” I said.
“Mmm,” agreed the Littlest Two of the Three Boys.
“I need to put the rolls into the oven,” Monsieur said. The Bigglest Boy went to go wash his hands immediately, as he was expected to participate in all bread making. That is his kitchen lesson this month. Normally he would have kneaded and rolled out the bread, but we had been late doing Yule shopping, plus we had been stuck in icy mud coming home.
“I want rolls,” added Littlest Boy.
“You get dinner, with rolls and green salad and bean-beans, as soon as it’s ready,” assured his daddy, pointing him out the kitchen door and giving his little bottom a gentle but firm shove.
“And zert,” continued Littlest Boy.
“For dessert, there will be Papa Noël cake,” Monsieur said.
“Mmm,” said the Two Littlest Boys in unison. I led them away to wash up.
After dinner I sneaked out to haul in my gifts to Monsieur as he washed up the boys, hiding them in my underwear drawer wrapped in a newspaper. I then pulled out the gifts to the boys, carefully hiding them under the Big Bed.
This year, we’re doing two things a little differently. Instead of making Christmas lists of what we’d like to get, we make Christmas lists of what we’re going to give. Also, instead of spending the day playing, we’re going to Monsieur’s church and volunteering with a food bank, sorting some canned and boxed food. So I’m taking some joy in what I’m giving this year.
We went downtown to the Dell Community Center for latkes, klezmer, dreidels and gelt. We brought our Round Mountain Menorah to light, and I met a lot of people Monsieur hadn’t seen in years.
For some reason, Monsieur wants us all to have our passports in order and ready for a trip at any time. He says that work may end up causing him to take an assignment overseas, but he doesn’t know where or for how long. Last time he was out of town for work, he was gone for two weeks; we got fussy and missed him terribly. If it should come to that, he wants us to be a long, all of us. I’m cool with that. Also, I’ve never been anywhere except Florida and New York City, and I wouldn’t mind seeing some of the world, should it happen.
Meanwhile, we’re holed up, the rain tap-taps the windows, I’m in my plaid flannels, the Bigglest Boy is wrapped up in three blankets and thinks I don’t know that he’s reading the Discovery flight reports under his blanket with a flashlight. I’m going to go and gently remind him he’s not going to be able to get up on time if he stays up reading.
I’m then going to ask for one good thing from Monsieur, the one thing I always want, that one thing that can make me sleep more soundly than warm cocoa with a shot of cognac.
Have yourself a Merry little Christmas.

1 comment:

deacon_bluez said...

mmm. disneylicious.