Monday, December 16, 2013

Winter Weekend

On Friday my husband and daughter and I flew up to northern Indiana as a surprise for my mom's 70th birthday.  My sister and her husband and son drove down from Wisconsin, and my brother and his family, who live in the same town as my parents, spent Friday evening and all day Saturday with us.  My aunt and uncle came for dinner on Saturday, too, so it was a big crowd.  The trick, of course, was that we wanted the weekend to be a surprise, and we were all in on it, even my tiny nephews Huey and Louie (Dewey, at 14 months old, may have known about it, but has too limited a vocabulary to give the game away.)  We weren't worried about Huey or Louie spilling it--we figured, if they did, who would believe them?  You would have thought the person with the loosest lips would be my father, but you'd be wrong--it was me and my sister.  We each called my Mom on Thursday morning, and both of us had several near misses where we said things like, "I had to take the Angel Tree gifts into church because--ah--we won't be there on Sunday-ah, they were due."  Finally we just hung up, and each separately vowed not to call Mom Friday morning.

My sister arrived about six in the evening.  She and her husband deposited Dewey on my Mom's front doorstep, then hid in the bushes to watch Mom's reaction.  We didn't get in until about 9:30, by which point my mother was no doubt wondering why my brother and his wife didn't pack up their very tired children and go home.  But then there was much rejoicing--except for Huey, who burst into tears.  Apparently, several months ago, he played Fireworks at home, and did not wear pretend safety glasses, and he was pretty sure his Uncle Bart not only knew, but strongly disapproved.  Uncle Bart  sets off the only fireworks Huey can remember; he's also an eye surgeon and very pro safety glasses.  (It turns out Uncle Bart wasn't angry.)

It started to snow Friday night and was still snowing lightly when we flew out Sunday at noon.  We'd rented a Ford Focus, which turns out to be the worst car imaginable in snow; we got it stuck at the bottom of Mom's driveway twice.  This was when I noticed the biggest difference between myself and my siblings:  as they and their families trooped out to push the car, they were all wearing parkas, hats, heavy gloves, and snow boots. I was wearing a lightweight wool coat and my purple boots.  My husband, a jacket and tennis shoes.  My daughter had forgotten to even bring a coat, so my sister-in-law loaned her an extra parka.  Note: if you own an extra parka, you probably don't live in the South.  Also, we went to the grocery store, and it was packed.  In Bristol, if snow were actually falling from the sky, the stores would be deserted and possibly closed. 

The snow was pretty, particularly on my mom's porch railing, where it piled up on the Christmas lights strung there.  It was also cold, messy, and slippery.  Coming out of church Sunday morning, my daughter scowled at the slushy sidewalk.  "This footing is awful," she said.  Yep.  But everything else was grand.