Part Two (and Conclusion of) Dem Dam Hippies’ Christmas in Have-You-Been-Saved Missouri
The day before Christmas an ice monster crept over the town of Greenwood, his goal, to flash freeze everything living and lock us in houses where our illusion of safety would be challenged by falling trees, downed power lines and out-of-control fires. Between the ho, ho, ho of jolly Christmas songs, we heard horror story after horror story over the radio, pleas from officials to stay off the roads.
Christmas Eve the Ice Monster still controlled the town. We had no tree, no stockings, no presents. Family managed to get through on the phone, disappointed we hadn’t gotten the packages they’d sent. But there was no mail delivery service in Greenwood. Just a tiny one-room post office two blocks away where you went to “call on” your mail and neither Jo or I had had the strength to walk down there. Christmas lights across the street flickered in the frozen boughs of trees kneeling to the gods for mercy. We went to bed early, fully dressed and under every blanket we could find.
In the morning the ice covered windows acted as prisms, sending the colors of the rainbow through the room as the winds outside whispered – the Ice Monster has fed upon the innocent and is moving on. For the first time in days I’d woken with a growling stomach and not a headache. “I’m hungry,” I said to Jo who stumbled from the bedroom. Outside we heard children yelping as they mounted new sleighs and took to the ice covered streets.
“Hot damn! So am I!” Jo opened our sole kitchen cabinet. “Look what I found! A bran muffin mix and it only needs water. Good thing cause we bloody well don’t have anything else.” She turned on the water but nothing came out. “Whelp, no water either. The pipes are frozen.”
“I thought we weren’t supposed to drink melted ice.” I said as she melted one of the icicles formerly hanging from the eaves.
“Why the hell not?” I had no idea why the hell not and so I just watched as she whipped up the bran muffins and fired up the old gas stove. “And I also found some hot cider mix! I do declare, we’re in for a real feast now.”
I can still remember children shrieking as they slid down the closed roads, the hot apple cider and bran muffins tasting better than any gourmet meal I’d ever had. Happy to be alive, we danced to Jefferson Airplane:One pill makes you larger, the other makes you small, and the one mother gives you doesn’t do anything at all. Go ask Alice, when she’s ten feet tall!!
As we danced around the room, townsfolk walking past and hearing the unholy ruckus, shook their heads, “Dem dam hippies sure are crazy.”
Ah yes, no Christmas since as ever been so sweet.
6 thoughts on “The Ice Storm Cometh”
Shows you don’t have to be rich to enjoy yourself!
Brrr. Glad you survived the storm and had a happy ending.
This is lovely, Jan. And I think the Haag Hall art is beautiful too. It reminds me of Willa Cather, somehow, and the illustrations of Lois Lenski.
Thanks Paula! His paintings are beautiful however the scenes of well-scrubbed happy pigs were definitely more like illustrations in a children’s book. When you have a fever just about anything looks grotesque!
“Why the Hell not?” Exactly. What a fabulous story of survival. Have a Merry one.
Thank you Shelley – I used to tell the story to my children at Xmas hoping they’d get the message that it’s not about the presents… Don’t think it got through though.