We’re having a snow day. Except that we’re really having an ice day. And THAT is the problem with snow in Tennessee. Southern clouds try to conjure up snow and take their work just a little too far. The result hangs in sharp points from rocks, rooftops, and shrubbery. It pulls tree limbs and power lines to the ground. Schools, churches, and flights get cancelled. There are people without heat, or stranded, or hungry–Our heat could go out any time. I know I’m not supposed to enjoy this.
It’s ice out there, not snow, and it’s about two inches thick. I was glad I thought to fill the bird feeders. One little chickadee sang his thanks this morning, perched on the ledge of the big picture window behind the couch in the den. He didn’t fly away when I turned my head to look at him. The cardinals are having a rip-roaring soiree. They love a party in the cold. They take turns at three feeders with the chickadees, woodpeckers, finches, and wrens. It’s no surprise to see the other birds, but yesterday afternoon a bluebird crossed the back yard. Our neighbor, Don, keeps several houses for the cheery little Eastern bluebirds.
“Look, look! One of Don’s bluebirds….” I was driving, just pulling the van into the garage, with Dave riding shotgun.
“Could be one of our bluebirds,” Dave said. “I saw bluebirds in that second house between those trees we planted on the edge of the ravine.”
“Really? We have bluebirds? In that little house that Dad built?”
I couldn’t keep my eyes off the back yard action today but I managed to cook the mid-day meal. Most of the time, lunch is our largest meal of the day. Today I made chicken adobo. I learned this dish in seventh grade when my friend, Dorothy Valenzuela, came to the house and cooked for us.
I bought a chicken, just like she told me to do, and she arrived that evening with rice, soy sauce, garlic, and onions. “You have oil?” she asked. “How about vinegar?”
“What kind of vinegar?” I asked.
“The kind you cook with,” she answered.
I handed her some apple cider vinegar.
When the rice adobo was done, so was the adobo . She announced that she was leaving the soy sauce for us.
“You’re going home?” Dad asked. “Aren’t you going to stay and eat dinner with us?”
Dorothy giggled. “No, no, I can’t stay tonight. See you later.”
At the door, she said, “You have to teach me potato salad.” Later, she told me the reason she left was that she didn’t want to be eating if we didn’t like her adobo.
Mom and Dad and I talked about Dorothy at lunch while we did away with the chicken, rice, fried apples, and broccoli-fixed-two-ways. Dad gets his cooked to mush in cheese sauce; I roast it crisp-tender for the rest of us. Dad declared the meal to be the “best meal you’ve cooked in a long time, Sis. I’ve made a pig of myself.”
“I thought you liked all my cooking,” I said.
“I do. I just think this one was extra-special,” he answered.
Mom got in the game. “I’ll just say that chicken was out of this world.”
After lunch, Dave made a trip to the veterinary specialists’ office. No one is supposed to be driving today, but we realized Friday night that Murphy would run out of prednisone on Tuesday. We stopped in at the office Saturday morning and the receptionist said it would be better to just wait and call in on Monday. Huh. See how that went down?
Dave is an excellent driver in snow and on ice, a skill he picked up in his home state of Montana, but I was relieved when he got home. “You didn’t crash and burn!” I said.
“No, but it’s a wonder,” he said. “And it took me five runs to get out of our south side driveway.”
I didn’t see a bluebird today, nor the doves. They must be bedded down in some warmer place, but there were two or three robins pecking at the ground under the curly willow. I wondered if they were digging out frozen worms.
I received a text from a young man who’s done landscaping and handyman jobs for us. “Ms. Revell, do you all have kerosene or a generator? Do you need me to bring you something? I will. Whatever you need.”
I responded. “I think we’re good. Thanks for thinking of us.”
“If you need your drives and walks cleared and salted, just let me know, Ms. Revell.”
And that’s probably the best thing about snow and ice in Tennessee, at least here in Nashville.