Hi, here is my January Woman's Day column. And this is the last time you'll hear from me for about ten days. Things are a bit crazy here, as the Lendes are doing something we have no practice at- taking a family vacation. We did this once, years ago, when the children were small, to Disneyland. Don't ask. Just thinking about leaving home has me traumatized and I'm not the only one. Three of us have the flu.
We are chin-deep in the post-holiday doldrums with the flu and the snow and the somewhat tattered Christmas decorations. One section of lights on the tree is out. Chip just said, "When they ask me why I'll leave my wonderful wife I'll say because no one ever puts anything back where it belongs." He is looking for scissors to trim his frayed boot lace. Good luck. They could be anywhere with all the last minute wrapping that took place around here.
I think it was Einstein who said that a hundred times a day he was reminded that his inner and outer life were dependent on the labors of other people, living and dead. Maybe he wrote that thought down on a snowy January morning, well before dawn, when the plow truck rumbled by his house, clearing his way to the market for coffee, because the bean jar was empty, and arriving there at 7:00 am he found yet another good person plowing the parking lot, and two more inside turning on the lights and putting muffins in the oven.
In the traditional calendar, today is only the the second day of Christmas. But even die-hard church folks know that the holiday began about a month ago, on Thanksgiving weekend. And here where it is so dark, who isn't cheered by a string of bright lights on the porch in November? It was one for those Christmases that didn't quite work out, travel-plan wise. Sarah, Brian, and Caroline didn't make it to Wisconsin, as the Alaska Marine Highway chose to put the notoriously unreliable ferry Fairweather (and well named) on the Juneau-Haines route, and high seas and bitter cold kept it on port.
From Dylan Thomas's A Child's Christmas in Wales: One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear the moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve, or whether is snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.
This is a first for me, and it took a little figuring, but I believe I have learned how to post photos. So, here then are a few post cards of skating on Chilkoot Lake. My hands froze quickly as soon as the mittens were off, and the skating was so nice that I didn't want to stand still, but I did my best to take a few snaps. We spent Wednesday afternoon, what there was of it, from about 1 until dark at 3:30 or so, at the lake. The days are are very short at latitude 59. Hope you enjoy skating with us.
JJ is in the kitchen talking to Chip and his friend John, who has arrived for his decaf because it is too dark to start working yet. She's dressed for a run with Chandler, who is on the Cornell cross country team. He'll be here any minute. JJ tells John she's going to be a teacher. John says she should work at the lumberyard, because of job security. "Everybody needs a house to live in." JJ says teachers get tenure. Chip says, "I'll give you tenure." Everybody at Lutak Lumber is tenured. "I just gave Henry tenure the other day." Then the subject changed to the coffee.
The north wind is shaking the house and the children (can you still call them that when the youngest is 20?) are nestled all snug in their beds, or whichever bed they can find. (They went to sleep early last night after being out at the bonfire on the lake late for the eclipse the night before.) We had early Christmas last night before Sarah, Brian and the baby head to Wisconsin. This year, maybe because they are far flung all winter, the kids wanted to have just family for a night. (That meant nine of us.) The baby took center stage, as did the food.