There's something about growing up in Montana that uniquely prepares you for life. As you locals know, it's been snowy and icy here in Portland this week. It is reminiscent of some of the winters I experienced as a child in Montana, although in Montana, there would be lots more snow and it would stick for more than a week! But I remember a few things about those cold days:
1.) DON'T FORGET TO SLED: Have fun while the weather seems daunting. Just because it's freezing outside, doesn't mean that your life freezes. Enjoy the difference in weather and get out in it!
2.) START YOUR CAR EVERYDAY: Greg has decided to drive my car to UPS every night, thank God! His car doesn't have heat and the tires are really bad. But we reminded each other today that we still have to at least START the Volvo everyday, just to make sure it's working.
3.) HELP EACH OTHER: When we were little, there was a blizzard that made for 5' snow drifts. We lived 5 miles out on a country road. To say that it was not "maintained" is a given. My sister, my dad, and I dug and shoveled snow all day just to get out of the driveway. Being that I was in 4th grade and my sister was in 2nd grade, I don't know how much we helped, but it felt like it was a group effort. It created a sense of togetherness. I think of what Greg said to a coworker last night: "If you ever get stuck, call me. Here's my number. I'll come get you." We need each other.
4.) DRIVE CAUTIOUSLY: Notice, I did not say "slowly." It's not that I'm against slow driving in ice. Hello! I'm not crazy! It is a GOOD idea to take it easy. However, you do not need to drive 2 miles an hour on a sanded (or thawed) road and hold up a 1/2 mile of traffic! If I were adhering to my DAD'S ideas, I would tell you that the faster you go on ice, the better because you will just ricochet off of whatever you hit vs. hitting it dead on. IF I were adhering to my dad's ideas. heh heh
5.) BAD WEATHER IS NO EXCUSE TO LET YOURSELF GO: The first time Greg came to Montana for Christmas, the weather was a doozy. We left to go to our family party about an hour from my parent's house. There was about 2 feet of snow on the 1/4 mile driveway so, you can imagine, we got stuck about 1/2 way to the main road. Well, I was all dressed up for the party. But that didn't mean I was exempt from helping dig the car out! I got out there in my dress pants and heals and starting heaving and hoeing (??). Greg was surprised, but hey! That's what you do! Yes, it MAY have been smarter for me to wear boots and PACK my heels but bad weather is no excuse to let yourself go!
6.) THINK OUTSIDE YOURSELF: There were many times growing up when our family needed things. I remember Christmases where we had very little money and someone would show up with gifts. Even at a young age, I was touched and mystified by their giving. Now, as I watch the news and look around me, I see the homeless who duck into "warming centers" to get at least SOME relief from the cold. One man said that he was thankful for the shelter, but that it was Saturday night and that was his big can collecting night. He couldn't afford to miss out on $40-$50 in cans just to stay warm so he was going to go out & start collecting after he got a cup of coffee. It was 15 degrees. I'm struggling with ideas about how to help. The word "blankets" keeps cropping up in my mind.....
I hope that wherever you are, whatever conditions you are in, that you know you are loved. I hope you are safe and warm and have loving support around you. I hope that you remember some of those lessons that you learned as a child. The passing of time is a funny thing, but one thing is for sure: we are who we are today in part because of what we went through yesterday.