Sunday Morning ~ Grateful for Side Rivers
Madzi atupa ndi a m’njira. ~ The waters become plentiful because of all the side rivers.
~ Chewa proverb
November 13, 2022
I woke to the news that we kept the senate and on this rainy, gray, glorious Sunday morning, I am grateful. The candidates I supported in Maine all won, though my ballot initiatives did not. I can live with this. I am happy this morning.
I love this time change. I know not everyone feels this way, especially night owls, but for us larks, this is the way the clocks should be. As we turn inward and embrace the coming darkness, I try to make sense of why it should matter. It is the same day! The same twenty-four hours! Since I’ve been home so much with the pandemic it should not matter, I tell myself. But I can not deny the lightness I feel. I feel healthier, I sleep better. It just feels more right to me. I’ll enjoy it until the spring change when I’ll get cranky again.
When I was a junior in high school there was an energy crisis in this country resulting from an oil embargo by OPEC as punishment for the U.S. support of Israel in the Yom Kippur War. Aside from knowing who the president was, I was not very politically aware at that time so had no understanding of the reason for the abrupt change in our lifestyle. The patriotic lowering of the thermostat didn’t affect me much as our house was always cold. I wasn’t paying bills, only listening to complaints about them. Gas prices tripled, up to something like 75 cents a gallon and everyone was outraged. And while I was not the political junkie I am now, I don’t recall a big blaming of Richard Nixon for the crisis, but maybe I missed that.
One of the emergency energy-saving measures was reverting back to daylight savings time during the winter months. I live way northeast now, but I lived in Massachusetts at that time, which is still north and still east. It did not get light until eight in the morning and was dusk by five. I do not recall anyone raving about that and hoping it stayed that way forever. I guess some energy was saved, but I think the saving was counterbalanced by dead children hit by cars on their way to school in the dark. No one drove us to school back then, we either walked to school or walked to the bus stop. And it was well before headlamps were used by anyone except coal miners.
In addition to the gas prices being a problem, there was a gas shortage. There was a law (or was it a rule?) that those whose license plates ended with an even number got gas on even days, and those ending with odd numbers got gas on odd days. There was no civil war about this, only long lines and lots of bitching. I did not own a car then so I did not care, but I recall no threats of hanging the president up by his balls. But again, maybe I missed this.
Gasoline was a serious discussion when planning our annual ski trip to Quebec. This trip involved multiple families and we had to do it with only one car. How could we fit everyone in our station wagon? Could I bring a friend? It was decided that the group would be reduced to eight, and we would all fit into our station wagon, along with the ski gear. It was cramped, but we were jolly about it; skiing was a guaranteed good mood for my father and I’m sure this has something to do with my love for this sport. Thanks dad.
We drove up in a snow storm on a day when our license plate allowed us to fill the tank.
On that trip, my youngest brother broke his leg. I was skiing with him at the time, heading down to meet the others for lunch. He complained I was taking too long and took off ahead of me. I came around a corner and saw him laying face down in the snow with his leg twisted at a very unnatural angle. I stayed with him while a stranger skied down to notify the ski patrol, and we waited for the toboggan. He was quiet. We knew his leg was broken. I put my hat under his face. The snow was heavy and wet and twelve people broke legs on the mountain that day. Ski bindings have improved since then. He was casted up at the hospital with little fanfare, delivered back to the motel, and propped on his bed. That was Wednesday of ski week. Did we go home? No! We had week long passes! An eleven year old’s injury wasn’t going to ruin our week! So he was left with an empty coffee can to pee in, a Time Magazine to read, and we went skiing. It’s painful to write this now, especially since it was one of our funny family stories for years, but ugh. That poor kid.
So, guilt aside (not that I was the one making the decision, but I was happy to keep skiing), we skied our final two days and the next challenge was how to get home with someone in a full cast taking up an extra seat in an already crowded car. Our family friend George, “an old Fin” who skied into his eighties, was the only other driver among us so we could have rented a second car. Out of the question, we would make this fit. My brother with his freshly broken leg and in considerable pain, sat sideways in the back seat, his leg propped on a suitcase. Two others were crammed between the suitcase and the door. My friend Karyn and I sat facing each other in the “way back”, our legs intertwined with ski boots and poles. Three were in the front. No one wore seat belts. We drove into a blizzard and the trip took five extra hours, so a mere eleven hour ride crammed in this huge gas guzzling machine. I spent much of that ride patting my brother’s head, asking my father if we could give him an aspirin or something, but he was probably more worried about finding gas.
This little walk down memory lane was triggered by my thoughts on getting through difficult times when we all pull together. Which, is how I feel we came through the midterms. It’s possible! I’ll leave it there. Thank you everyone for all the hard effort! Democracy lives to see another day.
Love to all,