Winter Storm Stella and Warm Memories
It's not snowing yet, but it will be soon.
Eighteen inches of it or more, according to the latest weather forecast. The governor announced an emergency proclamation, and told everyone to stay off the roads.
I bought some pastries on my way home from work for tomorrow's breakfast. The toddler has already decided it's a holiday on par with Christmas, so we might as well make the most of it. Instead of presents, we'll wake up to snow.
I have such good memories of the 1993 blizzard. I must have just read Little House on the Prairie, because I remember thinking long and hard about tying a rope to our elderly neighbor's house so it wouldn't get lost in the snow.
Anna Gochnauer. She'd lived in that house her whole life, or just about. She never married or had children, but treated me like a grandchild. In the winter she let me rummage through her attic and play with the toys from her childhood. In the summer she sat in a lawn chair and clapped for me while I performed skits or cartwheeled across her lawn. She had a patch of parsley in the back yard and a dogwood tree in the front. I'll never smell the subtle chocolate aroma of black-eyed Susans or eat a concord grape off the vine without thinking of her.
Anna tried, once or twice, to tell me about the neighborhood of her childhood. She pointed out all the places that used to be farms. I was too young to appreciate her wisdom or ask the right kinds of questions.
Today, I find our two houses on Google maps and marvel at how different they look. At how many memories still live for me in that tiny patch of land, and how many more are forever lost to the passage of time.
But they say the Internet is forever, so let this one moment live on: me and Anna, playing tiddlywinks and Uncle Remus at her kitchen table in the winter of 1993, as the wind made the house's foundations creak and the snow piled in drifts as tall as her roof.
Tomorrow me and the toddler will make some new memories. Maybe we'll read Little House on the Prairie.