That time alone
It had been a long time since my son Doug and I had been out visiting with friends. We had been invited to attend our best friends 50th wedding anniversary celebration. While it wasn’t exactly what you would call a visit, it did seem exactly like it.
The room of almost 300 people was filled with many associated with our local telephone company. They had an open bar — I enjoyed, my son is a non-drinker — and fantastic food. We didn’t stay for the dancing; that would have required keeping this old lady up much too late. Doug and I live alone, and don’t get to see our family as often as we would like. I simply cannot travel anymore.
Since I can’t be left alone, Doug doesn’t get to leave unless his older brother Don comes to keep an eye on me. I was thinking about this that night after the party, as I lay in my bed, about the problem some people have of being left alone. Both Doug and I are people that enjoy our own company. It has never been a problem for me, especially after I lost my husband Van.
After that time I learned to be alone and to enjoy all those quiet moments I didn’t have raising five sons. A happy memory, yes, but having no control of my every moment was not that difficult. Why I suddenly remembered a particular time — a weekend alone during a storm — probably occurred while watching a movie from my bed. It was just before time to turn out the light and turn off the television set.
At the time I was working for the Reno paper and had a nice apartment just a mile from work. It was a Friday afternoon on a terribly bitter cold winter day. The weather broadcast was for snow to begin by 2 p.m. It did just that. Weather like this is always a nightmare for paper delivery and our office was getting prepared for the worst
While the office was closed weekends, there were crews available to take care of phone calls in the main office. Lucky me, I got to go home. Living alone it always seemed ridiculous to cook for myself. I would go to a small local casino for their breakfast specials or a donut and coffee. For lunch a much larger casino had a senior special at lunch where I also ate dinner.
Weekends were whatever I wanted. However, I still ate out a lot of the time. But this snowy weekend was going to be different. Once home none of us were going anywhere. I headed out of the office at closing time into what seemed like a blizzard. My refrigerator was bare so I headed for the closest supermarket and loaded a cart with everything I thought I would need.
Going home was a nightmare, even the short three miles, but I made it and parked my little Toyota under its cover and carried those groceries toward my home. It was freezing and I felt like my feet would never again be warm. Bless my neighbor, she had just swept off the stairs to our second floor abodes, and I made it into my living room.
For a long moment I just stood there, relieved that I was home. I turned on the lights, turned up the heat, took off my wet clothes and boots, and changed into nice warm stay at home clothing. Of course, it was television time, and the local news was all about the storm. While the announcer told us how terrible it was outside, I put away my groceries.
Making myself a nice pot of hot tea, I settled in for the evening. When I got up Saturday morning, I couldn’t believe it, that the snow was still coming down. It finally stopped just before dark, and Sunday — while bitter cold — turned out to be one of those Nevada blue sky beautiful days. Sunday night I set up a pan of sticky buns to bake Monday morning for the “gang” at work.
Rising at 5 a.m. I baked those scrumptious rolls and headed to the office. They loved them and devoured them in minutes. We spent a very busy Monday getting papers to people who had been missed, over that terrible weekend, and we didn’t get any coffee breaks. Most of all I remember how I enjoyed that weekend alone — time, me, my handwork, television and quiet.
Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer and columnist. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org