Let’s face it, I’m a weather wimp. Sliding off the road between Chehalis and Pe Ell in 1975 with both kids in the back seat did that to me for sure. Bill grew up in Chicago. He’s a lot more confident about driving in snow than I am. After all, I grew up in the desert landscape of Southern Arizona where snowstorms were few and far between.
My parents, both South Dakota natives, were made of sterner stuff. I was still a toddler when a terrible blizzard blew through. My father and his younger brother, Elmer, were caught in the storm while driving a load of hogs to market. They got as far as the town of Summit where they took shelter for both man and beast by breaking into a local lumber yard. My two older sisters were stranded at a one-room schoolhouse a mile or so from our farm. I don’t know how many kids were in attendance that day, probably ten or so. Their teacher, Wanda Tharp, produced a bag of potatoes and roasted those in the wood stove that provided heat for the building, and that’s what the kids had to eat until someone was able to come get them.
My mother, Evie, was stuck at home with seventeen cows to milk and with me to look after. She put me in the crib—a big metal one that served all seven of us kids at one time or another—before heading out to the barn. The snow was blowing so hard that she had to follow the clothes line to find her way to and from the barn. When she came back, I was still in the crib and screaming bloody murder.
So I know I shouldn’t be complaining about the mere five inches of snow we got last weekend or the three more that are predicted to fall tonight. The problem is we live on the top of a steep hill. Our driveway runs straight up and down and opens onto a narrow road with no guard rails on the far side and with a forested incline falling away from that. We have a snowplow, but with the icy conditions that have followed the storm, I’m not interested in doing a Thelma and Louise impersonation off the end of our driveway. In other words. I’m home for the duration.
Last week our planned Christmas Day dinner was cancelled and moved to New Year’s Day. Now, with more snow expected, that’s been cancelled, too. That’s two cancelled Christmases in as many years, but here’s something interesting. I just realized that both books that were written during Covid lockdowns, Missing and Endangered and Nothing to Lose, are set over the holidays. I guess my subconscious was at work. And the Ali book I’m working on now, starts with a New Year’s celebration.
I’ve done a lot of virtual book events over the past year, but it came as a bit of a surprise for me to realize that I’ve gifted myself with some imaginary holiday celebrations to make up for the ones we’ve all been missing.
That’s part of the magic of writing. Things end up in my books that I don’t even notice until long after the fact.
That being said, Happy New Year to all my readers.
As for the weather? For good or ill, it’s bound to get better sooner or later, and with any kind of luck, so will Covid.
Now let’s wait for 2/22/22. I’m really looking forward to pub day!