I had to visit my cousins for christmas. I had promised them for years that I would take the time to drive and visit them. I did not mind the three hour drive and traffic, I just wanted to fullfill my promise. There I was with my old banged out buick navigating the highways and freeways of the town which I was so bonded with, and I had to make plans if at all I wanted to leave it. I arrived with my parents when I was young. I met, dated my soon to be husband and we lived together with my family for years. When he died I could not summon the courage to start over again. My parents left me wondering if I would ever stop being sad and feeling sorry for myself. They joined other retired parents with adult children with problems, where they lived in their own exclusive community. Except my problem could not be solved by absentee parents. I needed a distraction, so I started calling all of my cousins and nagged them about wanting to be relevant.
It took about three years of my cousins begging me to visit and me not being certain if I woul actually visit because i cared more about connecting with them than actually seeing them. They had already visited me and brought all of their suitcases, child seats, prams, and my house was a place to be because we were all so happy to have a moment to ourselves. I cooked that winter, and we went to the nearby farm to pick apples at an orchid. We wanted to make or cook anything whose ingredient was: add apples. We made jams, we made pies, we made soaps with apple mush... we made all sorts of apple scented oils, and we were in an orchid of our own making.
That was the most fun that I had ever had since my husband died. When they left they were all in tears and I knew that it will be many many years before I ever had such a time with them again. I did not miss not having children of my own, but I missed my parents and felt abondoned and alone after my cousins left. My parents called wanting to hear about my cousins' visit. I had time on my hands and told them each and every daily experince that we had together. As enthusiastic as I was, I was not in the mood to have my parents also come over because I was swamped with work which was left languishing while I entertained my guests. I am an author of a local newsletter in town. I also write greeting cards for the nearby chemist where they are sold. The Pharmacist had made an order of christmas cards and I was falling behind. The house felt empty without my parents but I was grateful for having them in my life at all no matter how much the inconvinience. I also worried about making extra money. I thought that I could teach a class at a nearby college for extra income and companionship.
Days turned into months and I was resorting back to my routine. My mom decided to stop by one evening with my dad clearly sloshed and careless about their words, they tumbled into my living room happy that I was home and vigorously asked me if they could return to the house and stay with me. They were tired of college students making fun of them. They lived in a college town which was next to a broadwalk and oceanside restaurants. What attracted them about the neighborhood turned into the very reason that they could not stand it any longer. They hated having loiterers walk up to their sidewalk. And lost people occassionally knocked on their door, and that sometimes frightened them. I could tell that, knowing my parents how uptight they were, that they were aclimating in the neighborhood but they just were too old to figure that out. I felt bad for them because I liked their rental and thought that one day I just might visit them or stay with them for some time. Anyway they were with me and I had to accomodate them the best way I knew how.
Wanting a break from having my parents revisit their old nooks and crannies, I decided that I should accept my cousin's invitation to visit her. It was summer and I packed for summer not intending to enjoy my visit or stay longer than I needed to. I kept reminding my cousin that I had to return back to my parents.
We had such a fun time with my cousin and her kids that it was just out of this world for me to be away and not miss home. One day we decided to go on a picnic and just take it easy at a nearby park. We were there for just about ten minutes when a miracle happened. Snow started to fall. I had never seen snow before. I had seen it in cards or tv or magazines, I had never had snow fall on my face before. It almost never snowed in town it was a first in so so many years. I was amazed at the reaction of everyone because noone anticipated that it could snow during the summer. The weather had been finiky for many years, sometimes it would rain for more months than ordinarily was the usual. The winters which used to be overcast lasted longer than usual. So when it snowed, it was scarry but not so much because the weather had been difficult to keep up with. I also was amazed that the snow particles are not actually cold when they land on ones face. Actually, there is like a warmth to it which is comforting and a certain sound which I imagined was associated with the falling snow even though snow is so light. The more of it falls the more it becomes the snow that we all are familiar with. The whiteness of snow is so clean so absolutely white that one feels clean just from being around the falling snow. Cars drivers were taken by surprise as roads became slippery. My cousin thought it was a good omen that, since so many years had passed since it snowed in her town, must mean that we are welcome and we are a symbol of good luck.
We rushed home and watched through our windows as piles and piles of snow accumulated in our backyard. We had to have warm cocoa and sit next to the fireplace to feel warm and at home. It was a vacation to remember.