Saturday, January 8, 2011

"It was a Dark and Stormy Night..."

Thursday after work, I drove up to Clifton. The weather has been bad since before Christmas, so I have been waiting to take Mother her Christmas pajamas and the memorial book about Dad.

Now, I spent almost two decades living in a small country town and was always comfortable being there, but you forget stuff over how really dark nights are without the lights of the city. I noticed it around Brigham, and it became directly obvious as I drove up Sardine Canyon. By the time I passed Richmond, it was stone cold black out there. Coming over the hill from Dayton into Clifton, there is a long lonely stretch as well, and my only thought was "I just wanna be home." Less than a mile later, there it was.

I've missed my Dad these last several weeks, but never more so than when I turned into the driveway about 8:00 p.m. Thursday. He wasn't there to tell me it had snowed some, like 2 or 3 inches. He hadn't turned the lights on in case I came. He hadn't cleared me a nice spot to park close to the house. He hadn't melted the ice off the steps. That's when reality hit; he would never have let there be ice on the steps.

It's no surprise that my car, Miss Charlotte, being a "Southern Lady", is not used to icky weather; she's told me so before. I could tell she wasn't happy to have her little feet in the cold snow, but I didn't know she was going to throw that tantrum! I tried talking nice to her, making all sorts of promises, even rocked her back and no avail. She was like one of those old stubborn mules, going not one inch further. Lorraine came down and tried to help, but it was ridiculously cold and we were getting nowhere, so we did the only thing we could do. She went home and I went inside and turned up the thermostat, which had been set at 50. It felt warm right after coming inside, but you seriously don't even want the air conditioning to go that low even in the middle of summer.

Anyway, I was unpacking a few things for the night when I heard a noise, actually several noises. Then I thought I heard some guy say something, like 3 words. It was a little spooky, but I got a grip and found some Calvin & Hobbes books to read. I realized the noises were from the house expanding here and there from the heat. I was up late looking at pictures and stuff, sitting on the couch where Dad always sat to read, covered in the blanket Mother made, so cozy and warm. It was comforting.

People living in the country like the quiet, but when you are all alone, it's almost an uncomfortable LOUD quiet. I thought how hard it must have been for my dad to endure all those nights alone, one after the other after the other after the other. What a very long, lonely, dark, cold night. I'm glad he doesn't have to spend another winter that way, that he is now free to learn and continue to do good, to realize his worth and be warm and safe and not have to worry about everything, including pulling weeds and pushing snow, though he'd be first in line to volunteer.

It was a dual lesson. I had returned home after a long drive, but so has he. If there's any snow in Heaven, I'm sure he'll have a place cleared for me to park when it's my turn. :o)

Mother is doing ok. We had a good visit. She sends her love to all.

This song is a lovely tribute, parent and child:

and ps, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO CARVER YESTERDAY! Hope you had a fun party today! Love, Grandma Kay.

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