Home again, home again, jig-a-de-jig.
The Friday before Christmas my wife said, "Let's go to Massachusetts." Not having done any Christmas shopping yet, I said, "Okay." And we had a very nice time, thank you very much.
We decided to leave on Christmas morning because Christmas Eve meant my making up a batch of chili and Kitty mixing up her peppermint brownies and the two us heading over to my daughter's house. Walt fried up a turkey and grilled some veggies and a good time was had by all. However, Kitty had left her camera there so we had to stop at Christina's Christmas morning before we headed off. Christina was working over the holiday and Walt had taken the kids to his parents' house in Fredericksburg for the day. Things started to go downhill then. Literally downhill.
Christina lives in a glass, octagonal house situated high on a hill. Her driveway is long and narrow and winding and steep, with a ravine kissing the side of the driveway. Somebody -- I won't mention Kitty's name -- drove up the driveway so I could get her camera. Then that same somebody decided to back down the driveway without adjusting her rear-view mirrors. Did I mention the driveway was steep? Did I mention the ravine? So we slid off the driveway and would have rolled end over end into the ravine except that certain someone who was driving managed to wedge us against a couple of trees at about a thirty degree angle.
At that angle, our car was a strong believer in gravity. The driver side door would slam shut every time Kitty tried to open it; my passenger door was wedged against the trees. Any attempt to drive out of the position only dug us deeper in the dirt. Grrr.
There are not many garages open on Christmas. Double grrr.
Christina, by phone, told us not to worry. She called a friend who had a truck and a rope and they were kind enough to come out at twelve noon on Christmas to rescue us.
It was time to call out the big guns. In Southern Maryland, that means Tim. Tim has a big truck and tools and chains and loves to put them to use. After any big storm, Tim and his trusty gang of neighbors roam the countryside looking for fallen trees to cut; two years ago, they removed nine trees that had fallen on Christina's house during a particularly vicious snowstorm. They had us out of the ravine in no time, but I think they were disappointed that it didn't take longer. At least they also used the opportunity to cut down a few trees.
So, three hours after we started for Massachusetts, we started for Massachusetts. Thank you Tim and Dale and the other half dozen people who helped us. I hope you had a very good Christmas; you deserve it.
Jessamyn and her daughters live near the New Hampshire state line, and it was great to see them. She works as the controller of a large hotel in Nashua, New Hampshire, which is where we settled for the week.
Evidently the previous owners of the hotel had bled it dry of money and skipped town. The new owners, who bought the hotel at auction, are beginning a complete remodelling of the facility, and Jessie has found herself as the number-two person for the hotel and (at times) its de facto manager. This kept her pretty busy during the holiday week but allowed us some great alone time with the girls. Because they are girls, we went shopping. And had their hair done. And bought make-up. And stuff.
We were going to head back Thursday morning, but had a chance to have dinner with my brother and his family. It's rare that all of us can get together, so we jumped at the opportunity. (His eldest daughter had come up from Arizona for the week and it was great to see her also.) New England has many great things going for it, but among the best are fried clams -- whole body clams, not those puny little clam strips. Clams and clan were the perfect combination.
Friday we started the trip back, stopping at a number of interesting place to stretch our legs. Our GPS system (whom we call Bob) kept trying to do us dirt, giving us wrong directions, telling us to turn too late, and sending us five or ten miles out of our way on a whim. We managed to get a motel room for the night. It was, as we requested, a non-smoking room. We could tell because the ashtrays (!) in the room were labeled "No Smoking."
We made it back about five o'clock New Years Eve, making just one stop to pick up cat food, the better to put us in Ninja's good graces. I went to bed about nine o'clock. Happy New Year!