Around the Corner And Down the Way

“We’re coming,” I told my mom on the phone Wednesday morning. Snow dumping from the sky, incessant. Children running madly around the house, cabin-fevered after days of impassable sidewalks.
“OK,” she said, “Your father is worried you won’t make it around the corner.”
“What corner?”
“Um, I think all of them?”

While Fresco napped, we listened to AM 730 ALL TRAFFIC ALL THE TIME and marveled at how many semi-trucks had jack-knifed. We chose our route carefully to avoid hills and any semi-trucks. We loaded up the car with presents, food, more food, other food, overnight bags, our sled, our snow shovel, our children. We drove carefully down roads that were not that bad, really. And then we turned off a slushy main-ish road onto a side street and SA said, “Oh. I see.”

The car’s wheels found the grooves in the snow and locked in like we were on a roller coaster. We proceeded with caution and in a few minutes were within sight of my parents’ house. My father had dug out a parking spot in front of the house and his truck was sitting in it, which meant we had a spot in the garage. Sweet! 10 feet from the garage, as we turned into the alley, we crunched to a halt and the car stalled.

With my dad, my mom, the neighbour down the alley looking on, we concluded our hazardous yet incident-free journey with a sudden stop requiring fervent shoveling to get us moving again.

“I guess he meant THAT corner,” I remarked to no one in particular.

After that, a sweet, mellow Christmas.

Christmas morning at 4:50 AM, Trombone woke up and spoke, clear as a bell into the silent morning of an old sleeping house where the walls are thin enough to see through, “So. I had a good nap.” (he claimed, later, that what he said was, “I don’t want to get up,” but I think this is unlikely.)

Fresco, who was sleeping across the hall, woke up and said, “Addaaabbaaadaadaaa,” in his perky, gee whiz morning is great! oh no, I won’t be going back to sleep just yet! voice.

SA and I woke up and might have said something rude. Then we went down with Fresco and watched the fireplace channel.

Trombone, however, is so intent on being contrary that he went back to sleep. Until EIGHT O CLOCK. On CHRISTMAS. I do not remember the last time he slept until 8:00 am. Period.

Of course, once he was up, he tore strips of light through the house with his excitement.

Fresco liked his first Christmas just fine. He got a doll with long hair so he has some hair to pull. He likes her a lot. Mostly he enjoyed his day because my dad will hold his hands and walk him through the house for hours without complaining. Fresco really likes to walk. I usually insist he sit down after a few minutes because my back is sore. He doesn’t like that.

No one was sick. No one shouted. No one even cried very much. All the food turned out fantastically. By the time we left for home late yesterday afternoon, the roads were clear and even Fresco’s unjustified, incessant screaming fit for most of the drive didn’t faze us much. It was good to be there and it was good to come home. The best of both worlds.

And the boys got matching pajamas. If it gets better than that, I don’t want to know.

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