Sunday, December 26, 2010
"A Blue and White Christmas"
It's Christmas Day and the weather forecast calls for snow. Since several of my siblings, nephews and nieces live out of town, it's looking as if a Christmas celebration will have to wait. I'm a little hesitant to tell mother the news, but brave the waters and knock on her door. As a rule, mother can't remember hardly anything from five minutes prior, but since I have been talking up Christmas day and all the family coming, and writing it down own her memory tablet, she will no doubt be aware of the big day.
As she opens the door, I can see she is expecting a day filled with family and food. "Mother" I begin, "It's looking like we're going to have to cancel our Christmas gathering today, due to the weather." "Cancel Christmas, huh?" she says. "Well, I guess it's going to be a blue, blue, blue Christmas then." Reciting the lyrics to an old Elvis song "Blue Christmas." I remember that song very well from many years ago. If mother heard a special song on the radio that she really liked, we would soon have it in our collection of records. "Blue Christmas" was no exception. "Well, it won't be a "blue" one, just a white one and some snow for your entertainment," I assured her. "We will reschedule our Christmas and you'll never know the difference." I told her. "Who's ever heard of 'rescheduling Christmas?" she snapped. In a previous blog, I ended by saying that I didn't think Jesus would mind if we weren't able to celebrate His birth on Christmas Day, but mother might not be so understanding. My words seem to be ringing true. Not wanting to continue this conversation with her, I go about preparing enough food for her for several days, just in case the weather is unrelenting and I'm not able to get down here. A stash of mother's pills lie unbeknownst to her upon top of the fridge, so I can make a call and she can reach up and get a bag and take them herself.
It's about 7:30 pm and the weather has fulfilled her promises. Approximately four inches are lying on the grass and my phone rings. I have made several calls to mother throughout the day, checking on her needs and everything was looking good, until this call. "Jean" she says, either my power is off or the light bulb is out." I quickly instruct her to turn on other lights in the house to see if the electricity is indeed off. She returns, and gives me the news that none of the light switches are working. We live some 3 miles from mother, so our power is on a different line. I instruct her to get in the bed early and cover up, knowing that the roads are too bad for us to get to her. "Let's hang up and I'm going to call and report your power." I tell her. She promises me that she will go directly to bed and cover up, adding that she has a little girl from up the road there with her spending the night. Startled, by what she has just said and thinking that it must be her dog Annie that she's referring to, I say "mother, you mean Annie is there with you!" She says, "No, it's the little girl from up the road." I then ask a really dumb question, which gets some stares from some of my family members which are listening to my side of the phone conversation, "Does she have skin on her?" Now why, would I ask this question? So many times, mother declares that her dog Annie is so many different entities and one would think that I would be use to it by now, but no matter how hard I try, I just can't bring myself to cozy up with dementia.
We hang up and I call the electric company. A real live person has answered on the first ring and I am able to tell her my predicament with mother and she assures me that she will contact the necessary workers and the power will be reinstated soon. A few minutes transpire and I am very antsy just thinking about my poor mother at her house, alone with no heat but that which comes from a dog lying next to her, which she thinks is a small child and a blanket. So I began calling her, seeing each time that I do, she must climb out of bed and find her way through a darkened hall using a small flashlight just in order to talk to me on the phone. With my husband's advice as to not to do that again, I call the electric company lady once again and ask if they are fixing mother's power. She tells me the good news that they are working on it and my worries are relieved.
The next morning, I awake to see a winter wonderland of beautiful snow. I reach for the phone to call mother to make sure she's still alive and not frozen. "Hello" she says. Did your power finally come back on?" I ask. "Well, I guess, did it go off?" she says. I change the subject and tell her that my husband and I will be down as soon as we can get there. Luckily, the roads aren't as bad as anticipated, and we are able to drive down with a load of logs in the back of our old brown truck, nicknamed "Brownie" which has been a close friend to us through out the years and continues to get our back road driving chores taken care of.
When we get there, the garage door slowly opens. There standing wearing a red turtleneck, which represents Christmas, I suppose, is mother. "Come into the house where it's warm" she invites. "Well, I'm sure glad they got the power back on in a hurry last night so you didn't freeze to death." I say. With mother looking clueless, she tells me that the little girls from up the road have just left and that they kept her good and warm all night.
I have pondered mother's "little girl" or "little girls" story for just about all day now. I know in my right thinking that there indeed was "no" little girl or girls, only a dog, but how comforting it is to think, what if, what if...God sent a little child to be with mother on a cold and snowy night, just like He sent His Son Jesus to us, some 2000 years ago, one cold and starry night.