Friends on a Cold Winter’s Night. The Authors Collection.
January 12, 2014
I am deeply sympathetic to those caught in the winter blast of snow and ice. We spent twenty years in New England and know how such times can try the spirit, and the body. Losing power in such conditions can be distressing if not deadly. During our twenty years there, we experienced many power outages, some lasting a number of days.
For many of the serious snow storms, though roads might be shut down, we did not lose power. We maintained a good pantry and if we had plenty of oil and electricity, and – very important, didn’t have to be somewhere else – these were not bad for us. Most often, they were surprising and interesting.
On one such occasion, roads were impassible and only emergency vehicles were out, but we had plenty of oil and electricity to keep us warm. Around ten-thirty at night, we finished up a game with the kids and I made a quick check on our greenhouse to see that its heat was working and plants were safe. I had just come back upstairs when our son said, “There’s a police car stopped on the road out front.” I accused him of trying to play a joke on me, but he said, no, there was a police car there and people were getting out of it. I went into the living room and looked out to see the flashing red and blue lights and two people plowing through the snow, making their way to our front door. With the snow still falling, and hoods pulled close, it was impossible to tell who they might be, but on a night like this, you opened the door to any person left out in the cold.
It turned out to be our good friends Bob and Gail. As they began to brush the snow off their clothes and come in the door, his hand came forward and he thrust a half-gallon of milk at me. “Here’s our part,” he said.
Once coats, mufflers, hats and gloves were put away, we asked what on earth they were doing here, and why was the police car bringing them to our house. Bob explained that they had gone out for a walk in the cold, crisp and beautiful evening. Eventually, they found themselves at a small store that, amazingly, was open. By now, they were a long way from home and the chill had worked its way through their layers of clothes. They did not relish walking back home.
“We were trying to decide what to do,” said Bob, “when a policeman came in to get a cup of coffee. I found out he was headed down 116 and I begged him to give us a ride to your house. I quickly bought some milk, and he brought us here.”
We all looked at the milk. Bob smiled and said, “I knew you’d have chocolate chip cookies. We’re furnishing the milk.”
And indeed, we did have fresh batter from earlier in the evening. So, we popped a couple of cookie sheets into the oven and before long, we were sitting around the kitchen table having hot chocolate chip cookies and cold milk.
It was far too cold for them to get back out in the snow. But, we had an empty bedroom and now we had two guests. It was a delightful evening. It was beautiful outside. It was warm inside. We had cookies. We had milk. And we had good friends.
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