Thursday, December 07, 2023

First snow, December 7, 2023


My mom loved the passing seasons. She would get excited about the first snow. She loved to see the colorful Autumn leaves. She adored the blossoming of the trees in Spring. And year after year she noted how much bigger the trees of "Penn's Woods" grew in Summer, a phenomenon we chalked up to the warmer, more humid Summers.

I've become something of a recluse since her death. I rarely leave the house except for my one day each week in the office and to go grocery shopping. And for weekly trips to the cemetery, lately to change out the vigil light candle. Used to be I would be taking her out to weekly appointments, sometimes two or three times a week. Those were my outings, my times out of the house to see the changing landscape. Sometimes the appointments were downtown. Sometimes they were a few miles away in Wilkes-Barre. Sometimes I would take the scenic route home, taking her to visit the cemetery or for a ramble through the wooded areas of the Back Mountain. I did that last October after a blood appointment downtown; rather than driving straight home, I took her home by way of Hillside Farms in Shavertown so we could see the brilliantly-colored trees. Neither one of us suspected that in less than five months she would be dead and buried.

This morning she would have run to the windows to see the falling snow, as enthusiastic as she would have been at the sound of passing fire trucks. She would have marveled at the snow-covered landscape. She would have called friends and family to see if they, too, had gotten a measurable snowfall.

Me? I looked out the window and commented to the cats that it had snowed. I stepped out on the front porch to take the picture above and saw that the steps needed cleaning. I didn't have a broom handy, so I half-assed it with a shovel. Temperatures are supposed to be well above freezing for the next two days, so I expect any lingering snow will melt soon.

I'll head out to the cemetery again this weekend.


Today is Pearl Harbor Day, the eighty-second anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. My mom was eight when it happened. Today I wondered: what was that day like for her? Was it a snowy day, like today, maybe the first snow of 1941 in Nanticoke? Where was she when she heard the news? How did my grandparents and their children respond? In all these years we had talked about her experiences during World War II, the terror of air raid drills and evacuating the school to shelter in the basement of the convent next door. But we never spoke about her experiences during December 7, 1941. And now, the first time it occurs to me to ask her about it, I cannot.

No comments: