We just returned from a one- day back and forth trip to St. Cloud where we brought our dear Grandkids back to their home. The continuing "iffy" weather—-snow, blowing snow, icy compacted highways—–has made it rather "dicey" for getting them back to their Mom and Dad (and "Jobie" and "Bunners") They were happy to be home again—–Granddaughter went right to Bunner’s cage and lifted him out expertly (getting a full grown domestic rabbit out of a cage is trick….the rabbit has sharp claws and does not hesitate to use them if not lifted properly) You could tell that Bunners was happy to see her—-she is his primary care-giver and companion…..he snuggled under her chin and sniffed her over very carefully. Her Mom had reported that in her absence, Bunners had been sniffing her clothing when he got the chance. Cute!!! Grandson immediately called his pal, Steven, and they had a good boy- conversation before Grandson got on his computer to check out the nerf gun sites and his games he has downloaded. So life goes on normally at the home in St. Cloud and life has gotten very quiet here for us. I will savor it this New Year’s Eve as my loving husband and I share a really "wild" celebration here. (read: I am being snarky or being sarcastic–take your pick) The evening plans include jockeying for position on either the sofa (with soft pillows and soft blanket) or the recliner in which the winner gets to lean waaaaaa—y back and relax before the TV set. If we are lucky, and stay awake til 11 p.m… we may even get to see the big ball drop in New York City as the New Year comes in one hour earlier than ours does. We have already been "out to dinner" today: …. went to Hardees in Sauk Center with the Grands on the way back to St. Cloud!!!! I am about to put out a bottle or two of sparkling grape juice in the nearest snowdrift by the garage so our evening drink will soon be cooled and ready to sip. We may even indulge in some peanut brittle or Andes mints tonight. (Woo-Hoo!) Isn’t it an exciting evening so far???? What else? I may do a few crosswords while watching the TV extravaganzas available on all channels originating in Times Square. Last night I watched an interview with a lady named Kathy Griffin, of whom I had never heard… but she was FUNNY and teased the staid and slightly serious Anderson Cooper of CNN with whom she is co hosting CNN’s bring in the New Year celebration in New York. (Anyone named "Anderson" has a need to act staid, right?) She was so merciless and so clever and so humorous, she had the dignified Cooper (at least he thinks he is) blushing and pulling at his collar. He kind of did not know what to say to her as she kept peppering him with requests to kiss her passionately at midnight in NY and some other embarassing things he was not prepared to deal with. That might be the one to watch later.
I spend a bit of time being pensive today on our travels to and from St. Cloud. I always do that when we drive somewhere different than our usual routes. I was seeing the uniformity of whiteness throughout Central Minnesota…..very deep whiteness all over…..the landscape looks like it has been frosted with white seven-minute icing. I always notice abandoned homes and farms and today’s was near Pelican Rapids in an odd spot on a bluff just above the highway. It overlooked a small, beautiful lake…..and I tried to imagine what the little house would have looked like when it was newly built. Today it is a caved – in wreck of stone foundation and collapsing logs. The roof is totally down in what used to be the room, or rooms in the little house. I wondered about the one(s) who built it and lived in it, obviously long before the highway was built. It overlooked pleasant wooded terrain and the lake would have been visible also from its high perch on the bluff. Perhaps one settler lived a solitary life there—-or perhaps a family with a dad and a mom and a family of children. Maybe there was happiness erupting from the humble home at one time. Maybe there was great sorrow with the death of a family member there. Maybe babies were born in the tiny house and new life was eagerly welcomed by other children in the family. The sun would have risen and shown into the little home through its windows facing east and also facing the shining lake on mornings long gone. There was probably the sweet smell of coffee boiling on a wood burning stove and the smell of bacon frying….bread baking….stew or soup simmering on a cold day like today. I always feel a certain sorrow when I see an abandoned home or farm. One knows that there was once a time when the home was alive with people who loved each other and eked out livings from the difficult plains and woods in which these homes once thrived. What stories the old abandoned homes could tell if they were able to recite the history of the lives lived inside them.
I also feel sorry for wild animals out in this bitter cold although I know full well they are adaped to such life in this cold land. We saw a small band of deer feeding in the median between Interstate 94 near St. John’s University as the day waned and the bare trees cast their shadows over the area where they grazed. I saw furry coated horses—-two of them wearing special protective horse blankets on this cold day. They seemed oblivious to the bitter temperatures also. A flock of wild turkeys were furiously digging in a snow-covered corn field—a spot they obviously remembered from before the heavy snows covered the corn stubble. They were big and had shiny feathers as they strutted in the snow and dug for their evening meal. I do not think they have any sparkling grape juice bottles stashed in the nearby snowdrifts…..they have deep thickets waiting for them to go to rest (or to roost, more correctly said).
New Year’s eve leading up to the entrance of "Anno" 2009 is quiet where I live. We will celebrate very quietly and very much to our satisfaction as we see another year leave and a new year come in. Who knows what it will bring? We are grateful for all the New Years we have been able to welcome and we welcome this year with joy and with anticipation of more blessings, blessings we do not deserve but are given as a gift, each New Year. It might bring sorrow too but we know we must not flag in the face of such a prospect. The year will be like all the others have been—-full of life, love, laughter, maybe some tears and distress….but life goes on and we all face the New Year together.