White Christmas

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I am going to try to make the words in this email very sweet, as I fear I may have to eat them in a few weeks’ time. We had put in our order for a light dusting of snow to give us our (probably) one and only chance of a white Christmas. I had also asked that there not be too much snow as we had a bit of travelling to do – to and from Indianapolis to fly to New York and then two trips to and from Chicago for Nick. Well, we got just what this doctor ordered!

The weather stayed snow-free for our NY adventure and also for our Saturday before Christmas trip to Chicago to collect Nick. That trip was rainy and cold, however, and we decided to forgo any sightseeing and get straight home to Lafayette. Having Nick in the apartment helped us feel a little bit more that this was “home”, and we just loved it that he could make the trip across to see us (via Iceland). Sunday saw the arrival of the first snow flurries of the season. We were very excited. We went to the movies to see “Lord of the Rings” (Nick and Peter loved it, I wished I was elsewhere), and when we came out the car was covered in light snow. It was so beautiful and we drove around the streets seeing still another face of Lafayette – its prettiest yet.

So far there has not been a lot of snow at all, but it has been more than enough for us to declare it a white Christmas, and enough for Nick to throw snowballs at me, and for him to build a very small snowman – about a foot high, if that. We went to midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and were greeted with a light dusting of snow as we emerged to return to our warm beds and wait for Santa to finish his deliveries in Australia. It’s a wonder he had anything at all left by the time Christmas finally dawned here (well into Boxing Day in Australia, where people were seeking respite in air conditioning or pools, and fighting fierce fires in Sydney), but a steady stream of parcels which had been arriving over the past few weeks ensured that there was enough for us all to get up for on Tuesday morning. We had a breakfast of pancakes and bacon and then spent time opening presents and thinking of all the wonderful people whose best wishes were represented there.

Mum and dad had sent me a jigsaw puzzle with Australian birds and animals, and that turned out to be a perfect after lunch activity to do on a snowy day.

We had our traditional American Christmas dinner with just the three of us. It was unusual to have so few at our Christmas table, but we enjoyed it nevertheless. Peg and Dave came around late in the afternoon to bring a lovely gift and to share some of our Christmas snacks and warm cider. Peter had warmed ours even a bit more by adding some rum. I bought Peter a plastic snow saucer, and we were hoping to find a bit more snow so that we could get a chance to play with it. Some that had fallen in previous days had already blown away – not melted, it hasn’t been above freezing point here for the past 5 days.

On Wednesday we packed up to drive around the north and into Chicago to spend the night. It was too cold to do much outdoor sightseeing, so mostly we just drove around and admired the snow. We checked in to our motel near the airport in readiness for Nick’s next day departure and decided to head into town to look at the shops and have dinner.

We still had not found a place to ride our saucer (most of the snow covered slopes we had seen were beside the highway and I didn’t relish the thought of sliding into the path of oncoming semis). There was a fair amount of snow in the park at Three Oaks, MI (home of the Prancer movies which we had watched the previous night), but Peter refused to ride there as there were too many people around.

I wanted to get a photo of Nick in the saucer so we had to suffice with riding down a small slope beside our motel room. We have more technique to master with it yet, but had great fun.

We walked down the Magnificent Mile in Chicago with the wind blowing and snow flurrying. It was beautiful, but bitterly cold. We went into as many shops as we could just to escape the weather. At one stage I noticed that I had lost all sensation in my chin and I asked Peter if it was still there. He was unkind enough to observe that they were both there. We had dinner in a little Chinese restaurant and headed back to the motel. I think Nick thought we were pikers, but I’d rather be a live piker than a frozen party animal. Next morning we dropped him at the airport to send him back through Iceland to his home in Basingstoke. I was very sad to see him leave, but we had enjoyed the short time with him and we look forward to our next get-together, whenever that may be.

We had heard on the news that the main interstate highway back to Lafayette had been cut in both directions by traffic accidents. In both cases, trucks had jack-knifed while driving on the icy roads. We decided that the back roads might be safer as the traffic is slower and there are few, if any, trucks. We drove back problem-free in bright sunshine for most of the way.

Gentle snow is still falling outside, and everything is looking so fresh and beautiful. I just love it, but as I said, I might have to eat these words in a few weeks’ time, so I will leave it at that.

This week’s quiz question is: How many inches of snow represents the same amount of water as an inch of rain?

Love to you all. Happy New Year from snowy Lafayette.