Christmas Eve my outdoor lights were awarded the neighborhood’s prize in the “traditional” category. It was 9 p.m. The family had taken their desserts into the living room. I was there too — scrubbing the carpet in the aftermath of an unfortunate pumpkin pie hand-off — when the doorbell rang. Su-the-weenie dog licked up the last of the whipped cream and I shoved my cleaning supplies under the hassock.
There were four of them on my front porch, two smiling adults and two teens/pre-teens — it’s so hard to tell these days — bearing the congratulatory sign they would post at the curb. The kids had done the judging and they’d judged my lights the winner. Mine! I was thrilled and I have pictures to prove it, which is good. My son just might have chronicled my last rational moment ever, and here’s why:
The temperature plummeted soon thereafter and my brain froze solid. Alas, there’s been nothing traditional or remotely rational about anything I’ve done since. I have a kitchen only because it came with the house, but suddenly I couldn’t stop cooking.
That could be a good thing, but not when the cupboard is bare and slick roads make groceries unattainable. I learned that self-rising flour makes a puffy batter and you can’t get brick-hard brown sugar out of a glass canister short of breaking it. Also that almond flavoring will do if you don’t have vanilla, and canned milk is OK if you dilute it. Cottage cheese doesn’t turn into sour cream no matter how long you beat it, and substituting a cup of cooking oil for a cup of butter reaps cookies of interest. Su and I ate them anyway.
I hoped to fill my allowed quota of words before I came to this next proof of frost-bitten brain, but no luck so here goes. When I wasn’t cooking, Su and I spent iced-in days wrapped in blankets, snacking and numbly watching TV. After “The Kelly File,” I’d carry Su to her crate, then fall into bed and sleep the sleep of the bored until 4 a.m.
Earlier this week, though, I woke to discover I’d overslept. Ten o’clock already? That never happens! I pulled on my woolies, disconnected the alarm system as I groped my way down the hall, turned on the computer, brewed coffee and was at the kitchen bar sipping it before I re-examined the clock and then glanced out the window. Dark as pitch. Probably going to snow again, or else. ... I turned off the coffee pot and went back to bed, grateful there’d been no witnesses.
If you don’t need to be told I’d slept less than an hour, your brain probably thawed out in time to drive by and see my prize-winning Christmas lights.
MARJORIE ANDERSON is an Edmond resident.