Sunny memories made on wintry days

By Joanne Peterson | Jan 30, 2014

A late January flight to visit my granddaughter Annika and her parents, my son Brad and daughter-in-law Debbie, brightened my wintry spirits. A longer-term houseguest is visiting, so this time, rather than staying in the guestroom, I slept in one of the twin beds in Annika’s room, a mix of girly-girl and horsey, pretty much like my room was when I was 11, as Annika is. As I packed to fly home, I told Annika I’d be happy to be her roommate anytime. I would, too.

It was exciting to attend one of Annika’s basketball games and watch her (and her best friend) play ball. Their team won, which was a nice touch, but her mother and I cheered for both teams.

One afternoon, Annika and her parents and I sat at the dining room table, within sight of the glowing fire in the woodstove, and played dominoes. Two evenings we all watched movies together.

Another afternoon, I helped Debbie do some painting.  My daughter-in-law did twice as much as I did, and she did it twice as fast. (I find it easier to write than paint.)

One 29-degree day, my granddaughter and I took a walk, climbing through the pasture fence and heading through the snow-crusted woods on a route I’d never taken. Annika knew the rough pathway, though. We spent well over an hour walking out and back through the silent trees, crunching intentionally on stiff icy spots, slipping and stomping.

When we returned to home property and scooted back through the fence, we engaged in an upright sliding competition back and forth across a sizeable patch of ice in the middle of the pasture--difficult to describe, but great fun.

Annika won, with 20 back-and-forth trips across the ice. I quit, panting, after 15.   It was quite a workout. Then we stopped to fill the horses’ heated drinking trough, which involved screwing a frozen hose to a frigid faucet.  Finally, thoroughly chilled, we headed indoors to make hot chocolate.

Finding ourselves unsupervised – and vowing not to own up to our treat – we fixed tall mugs of hot chocolate, to which I added giant scoops of ice cream.  After devouring the melting ice cream, we took a pressurized can of whipping cream into the living room, where we freely – and frequently – topped off our mugs.

That evening, Debbie picked up Papa Murphy’s pizza, added a salad, and we called it a feast. Later she served ice cream, surprised to find so little in the carton. (Annika and I grinned at each other and kept quiet.)

This morning, Annika made me two bracelets, added some games to my phone, and told me about her teacher, who is amazing, she says. He used to be a policeman in California. (What?)

The days in Idaho were cozy, simple times, sweet opportunities to hang out with my granddaughter and her parents.  Do you suppose next week would be too soon to go back?

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