“No,” he said. “You ain’t got a gas leak. I couldn’t find nuthin’ with my sniffer, and I read the pressure, too. I don’t know what you’re smelling.”

“Smells like gas,” I said. “But maybe I’m just hysterical.”

“Maybe. You’re also down to a quarter of a tank.”

He turned, and said over his shoulder, “Guess I better get outta here, afore I get snowed in.”

I was still processing the thought of another several hundred dollars for propane when it hit me: SNOWED IN??? Again? The last time I had looked, there was no snow falling, just a soggy grey sky and dirt-speckled snow banks. I could even make out the frozen mudbrown tracks in the driveway. At least Sarah flew back to Washington in the one-day window of no snow yesterday. Now, if only I can get out on New Years Day.

Out? you ask….

Yes, out. To Eleuthera. I only need to pack a few last things, pick up a telephone headset at Best Buy, take some money out of the bank—and I am gone. It’s been snowing since Thanksgiving and tomorrow is New Years Eve. There’s no sun, no let up from the relentless monochromatic grey. My mood has been sinking too—I have a nasty case of seasonal affective disorder, and even though I use a natural light lap at my desk, it’s a loosing battle.

Ok, so I need to finish packing. I’m not taking much in the way of clothes: some shorts and a bathing suit. A bathing suit….a bathing suit. Where is that nice blue one that I like? Where, dammit, where?

And so I find myself long after dark, braving one of the snowiest evenings of the year—and that’s saying something. I am heading to town, ten miles of blowing, serious snow. I can’t see much, and I’m glad I have a Subaru wagon, because the car ahead of me is slithering all over the road. I can’t go to Eleuthera without a bathing suit!

I checked online and a couple of big box stores have bathing suits on sale. I am headed there, but it’s too slippery to go much farther, so I turn into Kohl’s, thinking that they have everything. I take my cane, and wade through the unplowed freezing slush into the department store. I think I’m nuts, but so are a whole flock of shoppers, picking over 60% off winter jackets and remaindered sweaters in breathtakingly ugly colors.

“Bathing suits?”

“Oh, yeah, I just noticed we got some today—against the back wall there. Is it time for them already?”

“It’s time for ME to have one!”

But in brown? Brown? Well, there are no delicious blues. And the black suits were made for twigs and anorexics. Then there’s that one with the orange palm trees and the glittery gold belt….no, that’s not me. Brown it is, and of course it’s not on sale. But it will do. It is, after all, a little cottage in a small fishing village on a remote and sunny island. Nobody cares about the color of my bathing suit.

And nobody there has to fight the wind and the blinding snow that whirls about my car as I head home.



2008 Christmas Poem

What we have here is the Christmas cat,

friend of morning sun, which loves her back.

She explores, joyfully, the Christmas tree,

its glistening lights and ribbons blowing free-

ly in the warm air. She reaches out

to touch it, curious about

how such things can dance and sway

enticingly, how the magic of a sunny day

can be reflected in one green tree.

But for cats (and people) such thoughts can be

exhausting, and she has promises to keep.

She curls around a sun shaft once, and falls asleep.

Judith Lindenau

May your holidays be happy and serene.