Stop Blowing Your Top
By Pam Kumpe
Do you keep your house spotless? Do you spend hours getting ready for family gatherings? Are you worn out by the time your guests arrive?
If you are troubled by a messy house, then this story is for you. If you want to spend more time with family — again this story is for you.
I will never forget the night the trees all blew their tops. It was a night of icy roads and downed power lines. Within hours the electricity went off, and Christmas Eve became a night of listening to booming sounds, a dark cold night.
I watched from the dining room table through the window pane as trees fell, they littered the streets and blocked traffic.
My family had gathered around the television set earlier in the day, prior to the disastrous weather to watch “Little House on the Prairie – The Christmas They Never Forgot.”
In the movie, a sudden and fierce snow-storm trapped the Ingalls family inside their little house on Christmas Eve. Unlike my family, they passed the time by exchanging stories about their favorite Christmas pasts.
I made a private wish, hoping my family might capture the Ingalls warmth, humor and drama by doing the same. But the weather changed everything, so much for warmth and humor. But we did have the drama.
One cold snap, a rare ice storm and our patience and love for each other was tested; the booming sounds were going on inside the house too.
At first a snowstorm sounded wonderful because I thought it would bring a blanket of snow, not ice accumulation. Now, I longed for humidity and sunshine.
Outside tree limbs were falling, beating to the tune of a snap, crackle and pop, it told me that hundreds of tree limps and trees were falling around the city. I quickly changed how I felt about the wintery mix.
We finished our meal, making small talk as we did our best to block out the crashing sounds. I held a dish of candied yams, a favorite at my house on Christmas and spooned out the sweet marsh mellow mix. I placed the homemade specialties on the table, only to see the sleet falling out the window. It stuck to the trees, like yams on a spoon.
During the meal of turkey and dressing, the electrical lines snapped and the lights flickered, and when the transformer blew nearby, that’s when the lights went off permanently. The six of us sat at the table in the dark and our light-hearted laughter quickly changed to worry.
The accumulation of ice continued and a pine tree crashed onto a brick house across the street. The road was blocked at one end of the street, near my driveway. My mother covered up with a blanket on the couch, the house chilled, and we could see our breath. The cloud cover made the daylight sparse, and we lit candles so we could see.
We weighed our options, the conversation was tense. My twin sister and her husband, my younger son, my husband, and my mother; well, we were not the Ingalls family. No one with the last name Ingalls lived at my address.
All the food in the house spoiled during the seven days without electricity. My dog ate some of the Christmas presents and my husband sat on his glasses in the dark. We bundled up in coats, boiled water on the gas stove and played card games
A week later, the electricity returned and the house looked like a tornado had swept through the rooms. We still had dirty dishes from Christmas, the laundry had piled up, and the trash can was packed.
My husband took his chainsaw and his new glasses and started the clean up outside in the yard. He removed limbs and debris; it looked like a lumber mill has set up residency.
His work was interrupted by falling snow; yes a new storm was on the horizon. It brought more freezing rain and added another cold snap to our holiday season. The temperatures fell again, and we prepared for the worst. This time the lights only flickered, no power outages, just a house to get in order.
Although my family did not face the untamed wilderness, or chop down trees, build homes, or face endless challenges like the Ingalls family, a historical development stamped its signature on all of us just the same.
So take my Christmas challenge and make this a Christmas one you’ll never forget!
And while you’re at it, include Jesus – he tends to get tucked away and forgotten about during all the hustle and bustle, or in my case – when the occasional ice storm hits town.
About the Author:
Pam Kumpe writes a weekly newspaper column for the Bowie County Life /Texarkana Gazette in East Texas and also works as a correspondent writer/photographer. She hosts a podcast "Daybreak Devotionals," a series on the women of the Bible. She teaches Kids Super Church, has two grown sons and is married to Ray, a professional photographer. For more about Pam go to www.pamkumpe.blogspot.com