Jennifer’s employer hosted a Christmas party a couple of Saturday nights ago, right after the storm dumped a lot of ice and snow on us. As usual, Jennifer and I didn’t know we were going until about 30 seconds before the party started.
Ok, that’s an exaggeration. We decided about 45 minutes before it started. We spent 10 minutes feeding and watering animals, and stoking the fire. Then we spent 10 minutes or so walking up to the Jeep. The Jeep was at the top of the hill due to the treacherous, snow covered hill leading down to the homestead. We were thankful that it was at the top of the hill because we probably wouldn’t have been able to drive it out otherwise – we were barely able to walk up it.
We headed into town at a slow pace, much slower than Jennifer would have liked. I kept scolding her for driving over 45 mph on the water/ice covered highway.
We arrived fashionably late. According to the program, we missed the opening prayer. We ran into some friends who invited us to sit with them. We found our seats, dropped off our coats, and stood in line for our dinner.
Dinner was turkey, mashed potatoes, chicken gravy, green beans, salad, and rolls. Of course, when it was our turn, we asked them to skip the turkey. I asked what was in the green beans. That they had meat in them was no surprise, and we passed on them as well. We skipped the gravy. We doubled up on the salad, which turned out to be surprisingly good, even if a little sweet. But hey, if there was meat in the green beans, why not expect sugar in the salad? The sweet tea was good, but I didn’t care for the coffee.
The desserts were exceptionally good. The dinner was institutionalized fare. We’ve all eaten it before at school or hospital cafeterias. However, the desserts were homemade. There was a dessert contest. Party goers made desserts and entered them in the contest. After the judging was over, the desserts were made available to the other guests. Some were great, others were good, and none were bad.
I can’t say the same about the talent show. None were great, some were good, and others were just bad. It probably had less to do with personal abilities and more to do with my taste for the participant’s choice of material to perform. I just don’t like religious singing.
Our dinner companions, however, were excellent company. As a disclaimer, at that point I had not been off of the homestead in two weeks, so my judgment may have been a little skewed. The conversation was pleasant, as we have many shared interests.
Jennifer won a sizable monetary door prize. The money has been tentatively earmarked for one or possibly two much needed new tires for the truck. That alone made the trip into town worth the hassle, conversing with friends was lagniappe.
We went to Taco Bell to use some Wi-Fi. We ended up eating a burrito since our dinner wasn’t very filling. Afterwards, we stopped by McDonald’s for a caramel mocha latte for the trip home. Who knew that McDonald’s doesn’t always sell coffee drinks? I would have never guessed that they didn’t sell them as long as they were open. As that was the only “vegetarian” option on the menu, save soft drinks, we left without making a purchase. I guess our $7 or $8 dollar potential purchase didn’t really matter to McDonald’s.
So, we headed home without coffee. With each passing mile, we dreaded the walk down the hill more and more. By the time we turned off the highway, I had talked myself into driving down the hill instead of walking.
It was about midnight. The sun had been down for about 7 hours. The temperature had been below freezing about the same length of time. I figured that the road would be completely frozen, which – ironically – would actually make our descent easier. Daytime traffic on the road created ruts and tracks that, once frozen, would give us traction.
I tried my theory out on the first hill. We had no problem. The little hill by the creek wasn’t a problem either. Therefore, I was determined to drive down the big hill.
Off we went. It was a little scary, but not as bad as I feared. We made it down, but we weren’t sure that we would make it back up the hill the next morning.
It took about an hour for us to take the dogs out and to get a fire going. Jennifer went to bed. I stayed up well into Sunday morning reading. Jennifer downloaded a free e-book that hooked me: Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart. It is a collection of letters from a woman homesteader. She wrote the letters to a friend around from 1909-1911. The letters chronicle her attempt at homesteading in Utah during the earliest part of the 20th century. I won’t give any more of it away in case you want to read it. You can download a free copy here.