Suddenly, this week, I had a violent revulsion for winter. Maybe it was the culmination of floods and mud and the nearly continual hum of sump pumps. Maybe it was boxing and moving the final load from Marnell’s house. Maybe it was gaining another two and a half pounds. But it suddenly seemed unbearable to me that there would be a layer of snow on the ground in the morning.
Oh, I just cannot shovel snow again this year, I told myself.
Mary called me from her hotel room with sadness in her voice, still waiting, waiting to get in her house.
Marnell was hit with back spasms and phantom pain in his amputated leg that I couldn’t fix, and the chiropractor was closed.
And I had gained 2 and a half pounds.
The entire world seemed to be gloomy. I couldn’t focus or plan. The only thing that seemed right was to eat more.
But then, as we sat at the breakfast table this morning, Mary’s daughter Lily called me.
“Mom wants to know if she can have hot water from you guys. Two jugs,” she said.
“Are you in the house?”
Yes they were, even though their breath was showing in the air and the hot water heater wasn’t working.
“The water’s almost gone from the basement,” she added.
“Hurray!” I shouted.
As I put on my tea kettle I could just picture Mary in high gear. Cleaning is her God-ordained role in life, I think, and don’t anyone ever suggest she shouldn’t.
Marnell’s misery of the night had lulled, thanks to his ibuprofen catching up, and he was feeling capable of most normal activity.
I dropped by to investigate at Mary’s house and found her basement shiny and clean, and three men from church helping her.
She and Lily were wrapped in layers, but in good spirits.
“I had to put on regular gloves and then cleaning gloves on top, it was so cold,” Mary said.
“Mary, how do you get the spiders out of your basement?” I asked. “That’s why I hate our basement.”
“I take a broom and get them,” she said, gesturing toward the ceiling.
“But I hate doing that!” I said in horror, imagining all the spiders in Elkhart coming down on top of me.
“That’s the only way to do it,” she said. “Well you can spray but the webs will still be there.”
I got home and looked at the brown flower bed. Green! Signs of hope!
Inside, Marnell was still feeling okay on a steady diet of ibuprofen, with a chiropractor appointment scheduled for Monday.
Two and a half pounds heavier than I was, I still feel a little gloomy.
But perhaps winter will end!