Friends on a Cold Winter’s Night. The Authors Collection.

walking-snow1

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.

James R. Callan
James R. Callan

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.

ATonOfGold-3dLeftOnce 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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  • Caleb Pirtle

    Jim, it was great to be young and innovative and able to whip the elements with a good party any time of year. Hot chocolate chip cookies and cold milk can cure any weather-related ills I can think of: winter or summer.

    • Jim Callan

      How about being old and innovative? It’s too late for me to try the young and innovative bit. But I can still do hot chocolate chip cookies. Thanks, Caleb.

  • Elaine Faber

    I should think that would be a scene you could work into one of your novels, if you ever have a story in the snowy country. Beautiful memory, indeed.

    • Jim Callan

      Great idea, Elaine. My current novels are set in warmer territories. But, who knows, maybe the next one will let me work in a good snow story.

  • Patricia Gligor

    A wonderful reminder, Jim, that winter, including snow storms, can have some positive qualities. Among other things, it can be the source of fond memories and interesting writing material.

    • Jim Callan

      Amazingly enough, most of the big snow storms during our 20 years in Connecticut brought us fond memories. The Key was: we did not have to be somewhere else at that time. Thanks, Patricia.

  • Dac Crossley

    Nice blog, Jim. I have some childhood memories from south Texas – not housebound by snow – but isolated by spring floods. My family of four gathered around the breakfast table – later, playing Monopoly.

    • Jim Callan

      Sometimes, being kept from our regular activities can be a lot of fun. Thanks, Dac.

  • Holli castillo

    We don’t do cold well in New Orleans, so snow would be a nightmare for us. I’ve seen snow maybe 5 times in my life, and each time the city shut down, even though it wasn’t even enough to coat the ground or make a snowman. You make it sound so beautiful I envy you, but I’m also pretty sure we couldn’t take the cold. Great description.

    • Jim Callan

      When I took a job in Connecticut, I didn’t expect to stay long – too cold. But close to NY City to take in lots of shows, etc. But, turned out the cold wasn’t that bad and I stayed 20 years. The snow could be beautiful. But the key was – you did not have to be someplace as a particular time. If you had to travel, the snow was not so nice. Thanks for the comment, Holli.

  • yvie/yvonne

    Heart warming… very, very cozy. Thank you for sharing.

    • Jim Callan

      It was a great time, and should be shared. Thanks.

  • Eileen Obser

    Lovely story, Jim. I have some wonderful Christmas memories, too, and you just shook a few loose with this Connecticut tale. The photo used looks just like Central Park in NYC – is it?

    • Jim Callan

      Thanks for stopping by, Eileen.

  • Darlene Jones

    Cool story. Some of the best times ever come when you least expect them.

    • Jim Callan

      Thanks, Darlene. You are so right. Unexpected events can often be the best events. You just have to be ready to accept them.

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