Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy Holidays!

I've enjoyed reading many blogs this Christmas and seeing the different traditions and fun that various families have in their celebrations.

I drove 2.5 hours to my aunty in Fresno to bring holiday cheer. This is the first Christmas without my TuTu (grandmother). My grief was heavy at the beginning of the month and then I perked up, while my aunty was having her heavy time this week. We all pulled it together, though, with tiny fake trees and a few token gifts, but lots and lots of great homemade food. I made 2 pumpkin pies, a huge sweet potato pie (for the first time), and 2 cranberry pudding cakes with hot butter sauce. I now need a LOT of exercise!

I brought Merlin, my 6m old kitten with me and left my other 6 cats with two gravity feeders of dry food and one large one of water. I was only gone for 48 hours and they ate every bit of the food (3 pounds!). Velvet looked like a fatted cow! She must have gorged herself. Her sides are still bulging! There was vomit in about 6 places and all four litter boxes were full of the worse. The house still stinks, even though I opened the door and windows and put on fans and I'm still cleaning. I blasted the heater since it's unseasonably cold here right now. We've had snow in places that hasn't ever seen snow.

I need to say here that I don't expect sympathy for those of you up north, particularly in the Great Lakes States, but empathy. Do keep in mind that we have small heaters; some of us not even central heat, but a unit mounted on a wall in one room that's supposed to heat, in my case, a 2 bedroom apartment. I have single-paned windows and very thin walls. I'm lucky enough to have thick mittens, but I don't have a hat, and coats here are more for fashion than warmth. Add to this the fact that my car doesn't have a working heater. When I drove home from Fresno, I had on, all at the same time, fleece leggings, sweatpants, two pairs of socks, an undershirt, turtleneck, angora sweater, a thick sweatshirt, earmuffs, mittens, I added my coat halfway home, and had two blankets over my legs and lap. My toes and nose were still little icicles by the time I reached home.

The drive was very beautiful though. I cut through farmland to get home and the stars were super bright without the city lights dimming them. I pulled over at one point and stuck my head out the window to peer up at them. Orion was right over my head.

On the way down, Christmas Eve, I saw a spectacular accident. Through the darkness in the middle of the highway between the lanes I saw what looked like a huge flock of black birds flying toward me. As I got closer, I could see it was actually a small truck rolling over and over, air born, like a toy, with bits and pieces flying off of it. I pulled over and got out to help. Both the driver and passenger had been wearing seat belts and were unhurt!!! Both were young men, maybe 20 yrs. old. The truck came to rest on its side, driver-side-down. The men climbed out where the windows had been. The battery and a large speaker was several feet away, each in a different area and as cars drive by on both sides of the highway, they hit various car parts and sent them flying. It was not a safe place to be standing. I checked the passengers of the car the men had hit and they were crying, but walking. I think the truck was going VERY fast and changed lanes without looking, clipped the white car, which launched the truck into the air. Fortunately, the white car never went out of control. All involved were hispanic, but spoke English a bit and the truck men spoke it well, but they handed me their cell phone and bluetooth ear thingy with Highway Patrol on the other end but I didn't know how to use the ear thingy. It was too dark to see how it fit, so another guy passed me his phone and I was able to give our location. Help arrived within five minutes and I had the family in the white car get back in it to avoid flying debris. I left as the CHP arrived. It was a Christmas miracle that no one was hurt, much less killed. I felt the hand of God over those boys when I prayed at the outset of my journey for a safe trip for me and others travelling without realizing I'd be witness to the answer to my prayer.

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