The first thing I noticed, when I awoke early Sunday morning, was the lights.
After a day of howling winds and white-out conditions that rendered the gravel road 50 yards from our home invisible, I could actually see the lights of Spencer.
I felt relief. No more drifts of snow like sand dunes in the Sahara would form in my driveway. Folks who had ventured, unwisely, out on Saturday would find their way home. The reassuring strobe lights of the snowplows in the distance ensured the roads would soon be clear.
But...I must admit a bit of sadness. Really. A blizzard on a weekend is a great excuse to hunker down with family. And, a blizzard on the weekend before Christmas is a great excuse to bake. And bake. And bake. This is one thing I know how to do.
It's also a good excuse to pull out the cocoa and settle in on the sofa for a Christmas movie marathon. It's a time for addressing those Christmas cards, wrapping those presents, and enjoying some uninterrupted time with the family.
It's an excuse to slow down.
Too often, as the holiday nears, our anxiety level seems to rise. There's always one more present to buy, one more event to attend, one more commitment to follow through on.
Mother Nature's temper tantrum on Saturday provided the reason to slow down. Somehow, a home with a lighted Christmas tree and the smell of fresh-baked cookies feels so much more cozy than, say, a February home in a blizzard.
Providentially, TBS had a showing of one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies on Saturday - National Lampoon's "Christmas Vacation."
I always empathize with poor Clark Griswold, who simply wants a perfect Christmas for his family. His dream of that happy holiday comes up against forces he can't always control. The hilarious film has, at its core, such a soft center. It reminds us that no matter how annoying, or embarrassing, our family is what makes life worthwhile.
The snowstorm on Saturday meant I handed over the reins of the first drop off day for the Holiday Adoption Program to the unofficial godfather of the program. Ron Bauermeister, with an assist from Daily Reporter circulation staffer Terry Henrichs, held down the fort at The Depot for the intrepid folks who stopped by to deliver their gifts.
Obviously, they didn't have a very big turnout.
Which means the crowds will be big this coming Saturday, December 18. We'll be at The Depot from 8:30 a.m. until 12 noon to receive the gifts destined for area families. We'll have extra help on hand to unload and sort the gifts.
Mother Nature may have slowed down the process, but she won't stop it.