I hope all of you are safe and warm. Today’s ice storm reminds me of another wintry day back in December 2004—the year we were stranded here in Arkansas at Christmas time, holed up in our house, unable to attend our big Young Family Dinner in Tupelo. We felt so alone! Today I’ll share a little essay I wrote that year:
Christmas on the Mountain
Madelyn F. Young
The sun is shining. From our dining room windows we can see a little wren hopping along our deck railing. She bobs her head up and down, poking her beak into every crevice. I don’t think she will have much luck today. The snow on the deck is beginning to melt, but I’m sure any insects have long since disappeared.
It seems strange to be here by ourselves, the first time in forty-six years we aren’t spending Christmas with our families. That’s quite a record!
The snow began mid-day on December 22. By nighttime we had four inches—not unusual here in Arkansas—but we are up on a mountain and the streets to our house are steep and curving. The next day our exits were all icy and slick. Temperatures have stayed well below thirty-two, and any snow melted by the sun has frozen again each night. We are stranded now until the temperatures rise.
The Christmas music from the CD player soothes our spirits, but we are lonesome. Our thoughts are with all our family members as they gather for dinner in Tupelo. We miss the smells of vegetables cooking. The smoked turkey and the honey-glazed ham are being sliced. We know the dressing is mixed and ready to put into the oven. It will be piping hot when served. As each group arrives they will bring in steaming casseroles and chilled salads and yummy desserts of all kinds. There will be hugs and laughter. I hope someone is taking pictures. That was always my job.
I pop a small roast into our crock pot. Comfort food. We call our neighbors who are renting the house next door. The police brought them back up the mountain yesterday. We discovered the wife was in the hospital in Hot Springs this week. We offer to share our Christmas meal with them today, but they decline. They have already started cooking some things. We wish them well.
The little wren on our deck is persistent. I scatter some bread crumbs and watch.