December Storm

By: Tanya Ward Goodman

I am coming up for air after my flurry of November writing. I finished the novel. It’s 50,436 words and seems to have some plot and some characters and even a little, tiny bit of writerly flair. But I’m leaving it alone for a while. Like a good cup of tea, it needs to steep.

Besides, it’s the holiday season and all kinds of tinsel decked heck is breaking loose.

My kids are in school for about two more weeks and almost every day there is some sort of festive event. They’re making candy houses out of mini-milk cartons covered first with tinfoil, later with icing and last with handfuls of gumdrops, sno-caps and starburst mints. When completed, the house will weigh just under five pounds. These sugar-encrusted cottages will decorate our dining room table for a few days before they slowly begin to disappear. Instead of copper wiring, thieves will steal away licorice ropes and chocolate wafer shingles.

What’s been dubbed the “International Sing and Dance” has set off a flurry of e-mail communications. Who has a line on dozens of top hats? Anyone know where we can find twelve sombreros? Can someone cut skirts and sew serapes? My daughter is singing in Spanish, my son is doing a Broadway medley. I’ve been told there are hip-hop dancers. No matter what they sing, I know I will weep through the whole thing from beginning to end. I can’t help it. Kids are singing about peace and love and Broadway. They’re wearing costumes. It’s the holidays.

We’ve got teachers’ gifts to buy, reports to finish, last minute shopping to do. School pictures will arrive and with them the addressing and posting of holiday cards. So much to do and so little time.

We don’t have snow in these parts. We get rain. And most recently, we got crazy winds. When the wind knocked out our power last week, it was a little like the snow days of my youth. The night was so dark and cold. The kids and I hunkered down around a few lit candles. We cuddled together in my bed and read stories and listened to the wind bash the trees around; listened to the rattling windows and the bump, bump in the night. We were safe and cozy and we had nothing to do except stay safe and cozy.

In all the whirl of the next few weeks, I’m hoping to find a few peaceful spots. I know it can happen even in the most violent of storms.

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