This morning when I went through the garage to go swim, I noticed a wet trail from the freezer disappearing beneath the car. This can never be a good sign. I called to Spencer and asked him to investigate because I needed to leave and I couldn’t cope with the problem. We opened up the freezer and found all the food in it thawing. Spencer took over for me so I could leave, and he dealt with getting the food—what would fit—transferred into the freezer in the kitchen. At least we’re already thawing the turkey for Thursday. It reminds me of a thanksgiving when we didn’t even have a freezer of our own.
In 1990, Jason and I moved to Minnesota. Nothing in that move worked out like we’d hoped, and I plan to one day get around to telling those stories. In the meantime, just know our housing didn’t work out and we were living in the extra bedroom of the local church’s pastor, Rev. Elmer Bates, and his wife.
This particular Thanksgiving, Jason’s dad and step-mom decided to go see Jason’s sister in Ohio for the holiday, so they offered their place for us to stay, since we’d been living for months (yes people, MONTHS) in Elmer’s spare room. We accepted with alacrity. We’d never planned or wanted to stay at Elmer’s. So the opportunity was exciting and we were thrilled. I cannot tell you how thrilled. Really. We really needed some time to ourselves in our own space.
We took our suitcases that we'd been living out of since moving from Chicago and went to the farm. It was going to be great. The night before Thanksgiving, we arranged to go to Aunt Elaine’s to make sure the turkey was out of her freezer. She lived about 250 paces to the east of where we were staying (on the family farm). And she had the only freezer. She had the only kitchen. In fact, she had the only house, really. The place we were staying in was a converted office next tot the barn from a past farm business that Jason’s dad was living in while the old farm house was being replaced. The office had a little microwave. That was it for kitchenware.
At Elaine’s, all was in order and ready for us to cook up our holiday bird the next day, sharing her oven. When we walked out of the door to return to the office, across the expansive yard headlights were glowing in the dark over by the office. We wondered aloud who would be driving by so late at night. All we wanted was a quiet night without visitors, a chance to enjoy the holiday and space.
The closer we got, the more upset I became as it sank in whose car was parked outside the office. I used a lot of colorful words to express my feelings. Jason’s dad had come back early. We got to the door and I was fuming. Livid. Upset at the intrusion. The audacity. After we’d been offered the luxury of space and privacy—something I was desperate for and counting on to hold on to my sanity—it was being snatched right back, even before the holiday began. Of course, my fury was no doubt masking the fact that I was bottoming out. Nothing had worked out in the move like it was supposed to have and I wasn’t coping very well. And certainly not with the new, unexpected blow.
Jason’s dad was standing inside the doorway with all our stuff piled up next to him on the floor. They’d decided they didn’t want to stay the entire time in Ohio after all. And they’d forgotten to call to tell us. Or just didn’t.
I said, “Let me at least change the sheets, clean up a little, get the place ready.” I had no idea what of my stuff was where. I’d been throwing my belongings around in abandon just because we weren’t going to be in Elmer’s extra bedroom for a few days. But he said no, no need, all they wanted was to go to bed. Thanks folks, have a good night. Good bye.
They were kicking us out. His stepmom had her back to us and never turned around from where she'd sat down and turned on the television.
Saying no more—because it would take way too much emotional health and good communication skills to engage in a worthwhile conversation at that point—we gathered up our stuff and took it to our car and drove back to Elmer’s about twelve miles away. I sobbed all the way over.
So what’s the moral to this story? Well, there isn’t one. At least I don’t have one for today. I’m too worn out to come up with one. I guess I’ll just be glad I have a refrigerator-freezer in the house now, and that it’s our own house. And all that was a long time ago and I eventually got over it and forgave and moved on. Maybe the moral is in that--forgiveness and moving on. And in two days, it’s going to be a good Thanksgiving. Even if the freezer in the garage isn’t working.
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