Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.
Snow flakes drifts falls white
blankets magical frozen
water crystals gleam.
Snow has arrived, true to February form, in the Portland Metro area, the first and likely the only snow of this winter season. In my 60 years as a native Oregonian I do not remember three days of continuous snow, and that is what we have, three days and counting.
These days I’m not inclined to travel in this weather, even the short mile to my place of employment. I don’t care to walk either. I don’t have the proper vehicular equipment or the weather gear to wear. Outside of work I don’t do much traveling or snow activities and since snow weather occurs here in the valley on a brief, random, and irregular basis the financial investment in the equipment is not justified for me. My employer thinks because I live so close I should be able to travel to work regardless; I maintain my vehicle can be just as damaged, and my body just as hurt or just as dead as the employee who travels a greater distance. My employer is not willing to provide or replace my vehicle, or provide income should I become injured, and I’m not willing to take that risk. This is one of the hidden costs of the lower end of the middle class: if you have no cushion of funds to replace the few items you own, you take fewer risks, so as to keep what you have in working condition; snow days cost my employer the loss of staff time when I won’t risk body or vehicle to travel to work. The work I do is non-essential services, but the pressure is still there to report to work. Thus, we reach an impasse when the few days of snow weather arrive and I claim snow days.
How my risk-taking behavior has changed over the years!
Back in the day, when I was still an immortal teenager and had not yet personally experienced death of friends and family, I was a much more willing participant. My girlfriend had a 1955 DeSoto and one snowy February Friday night we were desperate to go out partying as was our weekend habit. I was 18, she was older; we were going to beauty school together. After a long week of shampooing and pincurling and combing out up-dos and hair spraying little old ladies hair-dos we were ready for a room full of young imbibing bodies with long straight hair, our peers.
Mom disapproved, as well she should have, but I was 18 and she could tell me no all she wanted; if I wanted to go I went. We were young, inexperienced driving in the snow, looking for a party (read: ready, willing, and able to become mentally and physically altered). We were a good bet on getting hurt, damaging our vehicle or someone else’s. Multiply those parental concerns by it being after dark.
The darkness is what saved us. It was after eight before we were dressed and made-up and ready to go. Yes, there was a day when my clothing had to be fashionable and make-up had to be perfect, before I became allergic to everything that touches my skin. Perfect make-up takes time to apply and a fashionable outfit takes more time to pull together. Even long straight sleek shiny hair requires time too. Sometimes the getting ready for the night of partying was half the party.
By the time we were to ready to party most sensible people with any brains were snug in their homes, out of the weather and done with their day’s journeys. Traffic was light. The snow was well packed from the day’s travelers and commuters. City roads were sanded and traction was good. Streetlights were still on and the snow had slowed; visibility was fairly good. The car was not equipped with snow tires or chains but the weight of the mighty steel behemoth that was the DeSoto slid us safely throughout southeast Portland from bar to bar and dance to dance.
I loved that old car. I found a couple pictures on the internet at Mecum Auctions of the shape of the car I remember.My girlfriend’s car was faded red and white. The DeSoto was so solid if you ran into something it hurt what you ran into, but never even dinged the steel panels of the rig. And look at the front grill! Looks like it could bite through anything.
Every weekend we drove the DeSoto around town trying to get into over 21 bars, until we could find out where the under 21 dances were. Neither of us had fake ID so we would try to get into the bar with naive flirty talk and boobs ahoy, until the doormen sent us on our way. Then we’d hang in the parking lot a few minutes asking other partyers where the dance or party was. Usually after three or four bars the news of an under 21 dance or a private party would surface and we’d have our evening’s destination.
This snowy night, after driving all over the southeast Portland area, we ended up driving out to Redland, a very rural area east of Oregon City. Rural areas do not have streetlights and with visibility dramatically decreased we turtled on with only the dim headlights of the DeSoto lighting the way toward the little farm where the private party was taking place. We crept up a long curved driveway onto the acreage slipping backward as much as we went forward, not even sure we had the right place. When we finally got the car up to the designated parking area, my girlfriend parked the car and announced she wasn’t driving anymore tonight. We were going to stay the night. This was a huge assumption as we had not even entered the party and did not know who was there, so I prepared myself to spend the night in the car. The DeSoto was plenty big enough for both of us, like driving a small living room around; the seats were the size of sofas.
Inside the house the host was collecting keys. Alcohol was being served and nobody was going to be allowed to leave in the snow in any kind of condition, altered or otherwise. We convinced him to let us keep the keys, as we had already decided to stay. As the evening’s festivities wore down, I eventually claimed a corner of a couch to curl up in.
The next morning the snow had greatly diminished, typical of Portland Metro snow. Mom was relieved when the DeSoto pulled into the driveway at home safe and sound. My weekend’s chores were still waiting for my deft if temporarily hungover hand. When I was young my family always spent an hour or two cleaning house together every Saturday morning. Nobody liked it, but because we all worked together in our small house the work was quickly done and we could all go on about our Saturday. You were required to participate no matter what condition you were in unless you were vomiting and sick in bed. Hangovers were no excuse for non-participation because nobody put that drink to your lips but you. Many years later Mom said she wondered why we had that Saturday routine, because we could have been doing something fun instead. I assured her we had plenty of fun and a clean house as well. It feels good to have a clean house; knowing how to clean is necessary knowledge, not so common any more.
It also feels good to be safe inside a warm home, where the roof is not leaking, and the beds are dry and clean. As day three of snowfall continues I watch out the window and reminisce. I venture outside in my silly clogs for snow pictures. I coerce the hubster to hold an umbrella over me while I snap my snow pictures so my camera won’t get wet. I greedily watch Winter Olympics 2014 fascinated as much by the crashes as by the perfect executions, admiring how they move their bodies. Mine never has moved like that, except in my dreams.
And I’m sure as I was born, the son, flesh and DNA of mine and the hubster’s, is out in somebody’s car playing in the snow. Now I’m the mom, and I can’t help but send constant safety energy out to surround his body and his friends. Young people are willing to take the risks and I know he needs experiences to learn to become a confident adult. But you know how moms are. As well they should be.
Color Watch – blooming attractions in my neighborhoods this week – all is white here this weekend.
Currently Reading – Alphabet Juice: the Energies, Gists, Spirits of Letters, Words, and Combinations Thereof; Their Roots, Bones, Innards, Piths, Pips, and Secret Parts, Tinctures, Tonics, and Essences, With Examples of Their Usage Foul and Savory (2009, English etymology and grammar) by Roy Blount Jr.; Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson (2013, biography) by Jeff Guinn. Yes, concurrently.
Winter Classic Reading Choice 2014: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Finally getting an inkling of the plot, and a notion of Puritanical judgements.
This week I have been grateful for:
- The electricity is still on.
- The water is still running.
- None of my or the neighbor’s trees have fallen over or broken off with the weight of the snow. Yet.
- My employer closed because of the snow and I did not have to travel the short mile to work. Pressure relief.
- Finding many patiently waiting projects (read: messy house) while forced to stay indoors.
- Having enough of mostly everything to get through a few snow days.
- Having a neighborhood store within walking distance for emergency TP.
- Having the cash on hand for emergency TP.
- The hubster walking to the store and not me. We probably could have made it. The hubster wasn’t willing to take that risk.
- Being only a little distressed about the disruption of the weekly weekend hunting/shopping/gathering ritual because of the snow. I won’t drive it in and nothing I can do to change the situation.
- My nephew-in-law’s birthday today. He has grown into a trustworthy husband to my niece, an excellent baby daddy to their children, and a friend to me. Glad to have him in the family.
- Standing at the window enjoying watching the falling snow.
- How beautiful and magical everything looks when covered in white frozen water crystals.
- Bright clean smell of snow air.
- Snowy twitter-light.
Hoping you have a lovely week.
Namaste. Peace. Blessings.