Monday, December 13, 2010

A Weekend for the Books

Minnesota is in the national news!

May she just utter one word: weather? Let it snow and then snow. And then snow. And then get super super cold and windy.

Early Saturday, the young and inexperienced running Scarlett's current show sent an email message saying "the show must go on." People. Even the Guthrie and Ordway cancelled. So actors living an hour away in good weather risked life and limb --and some spent four hours -- to get to the theater; luckily, the matinee was the one performance slated for Scarlett's understudy, so the Matron didn't need to drive until the evening performance, which she deeply hoped would be cancelled.

But all those actors arrived at the theater to find the matinee cancelled and the evening performance uncertain. They were instructed to stick around and be on call.

Guess who invited everyone over to her house?

Living just half a mile away, the Matron offered to host and feed the cast and crew while they waited to hear if the evening performance would run. With 15 minutes notice, she had children vacuuming and shoveling junk into draws (ahem, sorry to say even a couple of neighbor children were put to work) while she turned to figuring out how to feed a houseful of strangers (not to Scarlett, but to her).

After five teeming, social hours --and a really good meal (she's amazing that way--good bread, soup, salad and roasted turkey go a long way), the Matron tossed up her hands. No grading, no work, no regular life. Instead, she tossed a 'blizzard party' for the neighbors, bringing in another swath of folk. Only these people drank wine and stayed until midnight. The theater people mostly departed after the evening show was sunk.

This morning, there is not a tendon, bone or muscle in the Matronly body that does not ache. Readers who live in Minnesota know that shoveling is the culprit. Because the Matron and her husband take care of two other houses (the elderly and absent), they were faced with a long day of work yesterday. Yours truly was out for four hours; John put in about seven and HWCBN, five. Even the Diva picked up a shovel.

Merrick limited himself to two gigantic snow forts and frolicking.

Merrick: "This is the best day EVEW!"

Today, school has been cancelled for the children. The temperature is below zero with a wind chill that dips well into the double digits. The neighbor's cat is missing and driving remains an adventure.

No newspaper delivery in three days!

But yesterday, when the elderly neighbors needed much help (they physically cannot shovel and live at the mercy and love of others), the Matron was heartened to see HWCBN dress quickly with a sense of urgency and duty. For most of the day, he was shoulder to shoulder with his father, digging out driveways, pushing stuck cars, and clearing sidewalks.

The Matron threw in the shovel after her own four hours and focused on food and hot cocoa.

But she watched her 14 year old son labor and serve. He checked on neighbors, brought over food to some, shoveled people's sidewalks, dug out cars, and looked for a lost cat. He never complained about the zero degree weather or the truly hard work involved. As needed, he and his father came in for sustenance and a few minutes warmth. But mostly? They worked --outside in frigid weather and for other people. The Matron kept thinking of Little House on the Prairie.

Okay, but she also wondered why some on her block with no children, no jobs to go to and no driveways didn't extend themselves. But that's another story. And not the example she's setting for her children -- or the way she wants to live her own life, either.

And when the Matron made dinner for her exhausted family late last night, when the sidewalks were mostly passable and all the neighbors safe and dug out?

She didn't put that plate of steaming spaghetti in front of a 'teenager,' but instead made dinner for the two men who now sit at the table.


Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

Awww. So touching.

The Matron has a way with words. And love.

Anonymous said...

The two who live with me make us crazy one moment and demonstrate remarkable maturity the next.

It truly is a wonderful time when you realize, actually know deep-down, that they are no longer boys.

Thanks for sharing your corner of the blizzard.

Anonymous said...

And that is why I love you.

Anonymous said...

You're raising a great kid.. both smart and compassionate.

My BFF and blog co-author spent the day much like your son and husband... because there was something good he could do, and he went out and did it.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post! I am delighted that the glimmers of what he is on his way to becoming came shining through when the chips were down. Be proud! Bramble

JFS in IL said...

You live in Minnesota and SHOVEL? No snow plows????? I stand amazed at your hardiness!

(I may be in Illinois now but grew up in S. California!)

Rebekah said...

I'm inspired by your embracing of everybody who needs you. What a great post!! Stay warm!

cndymkr / jean said...

You have a wonderful son. I know you know that already but it never hurts to have someone else tell you. Give him a hug and a kiss or just a fist bump.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Ah, your son is a hero.
I cannot believe that theater didn't cancel. Our entire state was under emergency warnings to STAY OFF THE ROADS. Not only was it dangerous for the snow removal crews, it was creating chaos for the emergency crews like police and ambulance services.
I hope you got a hot bath after all that labor--and shoveling!

Suburban Correspondent said...

Sweet! What drives me crazy in snows like that is watching my middle-aged neighbors out with their shovels, while their strapping, healthy teens remain inside.

Although I still don't understand how Minnesota can be felled by 16 inches of the white stuff. Don't you people always get snow? Cross-country skiing to work and all that?

Daisy said...

So proud - and you should be. This is when you know you've done right in raising this young man.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

That last paragraph says it all.

Jen on the Edge said...

I'm so proud of your young man. :-)

Common Household Mom said...

This brings happy tears to my eyes, that a Young Man would help out in this way. Last February, when we had 2 feet of snow delivered in one weekend (not quite as bad as what you've got) we had to PAY our teenagers to shovel our OWN property.

I'm glad you made a party out of somebody's unwillingness to cancel the rehearsal. My blood boils when the director of our high school musical thinks his event is more important than the weather that Heaven is delivering, and refuses to cancel rehearsal, even though everyone else is wisely staying home and building snowforts and frolicking.

Party on.

Jen said...

ah, you made me cry with this one...