"Time to Be Home"
On Christmas morning,
Dale woke with a real sense of excitement
for the first time in weeks.
She pounced on Kelly
and tickled her awake.
Kelly rolled over and
smacked Dale with a pillow.
They tussled for several minutes,
squealing and giggling all the time.
Eventually they climbed out of bed,
got dressed, and went to the kitchen.
That's when they looked out the windows.
The world outside the house
was a glory of silver and gold,
everything sheathed in a thick coat of ice.
Sunlight blazed on every surface,
dripping down the icicles
that fringed the eaves.
"Oh," Dale said sadly,
her face falling.
Maybe it's not as bad as it looks,
"Okay," Dale said.
She turned on the television.
It was worse.
A travel advisory warned people
not to drive unless necessary.
"We could still try it ..."
Kelly shook her head.
You could slip and fall
just going from here to the car,
she signed. Better not to risk it.
"I was looking forward
to visiting everyone today,"
Dale said, toying with the curtain.
We still have each other,
Kelly assured her.
Dale hugged her,
dredging up a smile.
"I promised you pancakes
for breakfast, didn't I?" she said.
Kelly nodded eagerly and
began setting out ingredients.
Dale mixed up some batter
and fired up the griddle
to make Kelly's favorite
butterscotch and raspberry pancakes.
Along with the pancakes,
she cooked thick breakfast sausages,
a favorite of her own.
Meanwhile Kelly sat down
and emailed everyone
they had planned to visit today,
informing them about the change of plans.
When breakfast was ready,
Dale transferred the pancakes and sausage
to the kitchen table.
Kelly gave her a kiss for the pancakes,
and promptly covered her stack
in a drift of powdered sugar.
Dale found the pancakes acceptable
with butter instead of raspberry syrup,
and she loved the sausages.
After they finished eating,
Kelly checked her messages again
to keep touch with everyone.
Then she started a batch of wassail
to warming in the crockpot.
Time to open presents?
"Sure," Dale agreed.
They went into the living room
where packages lay underneath
the white tree with its blue ornaments.
Kelly ripped into her gifts
with great enthusiasm,
while Dale went more slowly,
slitting the tape with care.
There were sweaters for each of them,
black for Dale and a vibrant purple for Kelly,
along with season one of Castle
which they'd both been wanting to watch,
and sundry other tidbits.
Dale gave Kelly a copy of
The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon,
latest in The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.
Kelly gave Dale an enormous Boston fern
in a macramé hanger.
The soft lights of the Christmas tree
cast blue sparkles on the walls.
The house smelled richly of apples and spices.
As Kelly was bundling the leftover paper
into a bag for recycling,
the doorbell rang.
Dale frowned at the sound,
wondering who had gone out
on the hazardous ice today,
and she went to answer it.
There stood Will, flanked by
Axel and several others from
the local peace club.
"We're caroling," Will said.
"We thought it would be nice
to visit all the shut-ins
who want company for Christmas."
The carolers were bundled up
in heavy coats and hats and gloves.
Some of them wore cleated shoes
or heavy snow boots, and
one girl had ski poles for balance
on the treacherous ice.
Behind them, in the street,
a handful of teenagers
clad in knee and elbow pads
were skating on the thick glaze.
"Some Christmas music would be lovely,"
Dale said, her heart lifting.
Will turned out to have a splendid voice,
warm and rich as caramel,
and the others followed along well.
Kelly came up with the wassail pot
wrapped in a towel, plus
a ladle and a stack of paper cups.
She handed those off to Dale
to free her hands so she could sing along.
After a half-dozen songs,
Dale and Kelly passed out cups of wassail
and then bid the carolers Merry Christmas
as they headed for the next house.
On a street paved gold with sunlight and ice,
the teenagers had organized a race,
although it looked more like a wrestling match
as they scrabbled and tumbled along the way.
They look like Bambi,
Kelly signed with a grin.
Do you think we should warm them up?
So Dale hollered and waved
to the small crowd of skaters,
who clambered up on the porch
to claim a share of wassail.
Soon they went back to their sport,
slipping and sliding along the ice,
their scarves waving like tails behind them.
I'm sorry we couldn't go out today,
Kelly signed to Dale.
"It's okay," Dale said.
"I enjoy watching the show.
Besides, Christmas is
the time to be home."
* * *
"Christmas is, of course, the time to be home -- in heart as well as body."
-- Garry Moore
Ice storms happen when freezing rain creates a thick layer of ice over everything. There are safety tips for ice storms, including details for pedestrians and drivers, and for winter storms in general.
Raspberry butterscotch pancakes are listed as a popular item at Sorella's restaurant in Jamaica Plain. It seemed like the kind of ludicrously oversweetened stuff that Kelly would like. I have no idea what the actual restaurant serves, but for the purposes of this poem, Dale is making butterscotch pancakes with homemade raspberry syrup.
Wassail is a hot, spiced holiday beverage usually based on apple cider. This is Kelly's crockpot wassail. There are many other recipes, with or without alcohol.
Artificial Christmas trees come in assorted colors. Dale and Kelly's tree is white with predominantly blue ornaments.
Castle is a television series about a mystery writer using a police officer as inspiration for his novels.
The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon is the latest novel in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, about lesbian detectives in Botswana, mentioned in this review.
Boston ferns are large popular house plants. Keeping plants indoors can help relieve complaints such as seasonal affective disorder and depression by creating a vital atmosphere.
Caroling is an old tradition that aids community bonding. Holiday carols come in many languages, including sign language.
Bambi on ice is a famous scene from the movie Bambi -- and yes, that really is what tends to happen to deer on ice.