Even the other day, as I stood in line at Wal-Mart, a short, eighty-year-old woman whose physicality reminded me of my grandmother (before she died).
"My daughter lives out in Newton, you see," she said. "That's on the other side of Des Moines."
"Yes," I agreed. "I've been through there quite a few times."
The woman nodded. "Well, she was going to come on our for Christmas, but I told her not to worry, given the weather." She shrunk into herself a bit. "I told her it wouldn't be safe, and that she should stay home. There will always be another day." She added the last sentence knowingly, but not happily.
I smiled understandably, my "big heart" compassionately sympathizing with this elderly stranger who donned brown, over-sized glasses upon her nose. I tried to hold up my end of the conversation by bringing up a blizzard that she was sure to remember.
"Well, this was before I was born, but my brother was little; sometime in the early 80s. Anyway, it was so cold and so snowy and windy and terrible that, even though they weren't going to have Christmas, my parents rode the tractor the few miles into town just to make it."
The woman smiled as her wrinkled hands carefully set baking soda and creamer on the counter. "That had to been '83," she said.
I laughed. "Yep! That was it; my brother would have been three!"
She shook her head at the memory. "That was terrible, that year," she said. "So much wind." She shivered. "They say there is going to be a lot of ice this time around, too. I really hope that we don't lose power."
"Well, hopefully everything will be all right," I remarked, pulling my bags from the gyral sack rotary. Checking to make sure that I had everything I purchased, I leaned over to the woman, who was in the middle of buying her last-minute goods. "You have a Merry Christmas," I said heartily. "Stay warm!"
"And you as well!" she exclaimed, pulling her checkbook out of her wallet. "Merry Christmas."
Keeping to both the elderly woman's word (as well as the weathermen's), the ice arrived Tuesday evening, coating trees and power lines in its stiff frigidness. It rained nearly all day, causing some of the snow to turn to slush. Today, as the slush re-freezes, it will be encased in another layer of ice that will soon be buried underneath (supposedly) an additional 10-14 inches of snow. (At the moment, we already have more than a foot on the ground.)
It should be interesting, to say the least. Along with countless others, I may have been dreaming of a "White Christmas." However, I am also among those who still wish to attend a Christmas Eve church service; there are so many that have been canceled due to weather.