We arrive in a white winter wonderland
– Wisconsin, USA
We have been invited to spend the Christmas
with a friend I have known for over 28 years.
We first met when I did Youth With A Mission in Oregon, USA when I was 21.
Then I returned a few years later to be their bridesmaid.
We lost contact. They had kids – grown up and flown the nest now.
Where for me, my son is still young – at seven years old.
They have collected us from a Milwaukee and driven us a few hours to their home.
It is wonderful just to stop. To be. To feel a home.
To see the Christmas lights and to have driven through the snow to get here.
I awake the next day and look out to see a white winter wonderland
out of my bedroom window.
Do not laugh, but we have the tiniest of hot water bottles
– purchased at Big W back home, and it is now my toes new best friend.
As I sit and type this in their lovely home, my feet rest on it!
The sun is shining, and the snow is just so beautiful – like a carpet.
She decides we need a hike.
So she drives us up to Rib Mountain.
I had asked if I needed waterproof pants, and she had said no.
Let me tell you, we didn’t just hike to the top of the observation tower.
No, we went on a real mountain hike – following the markers.
You can just see my son below.
We hike for a good while.
My boots are really designed for casual wear.
They now decide to leak at the seams.
My toes begin to burn and ache.
The pain is so bad.
My son falls down, and as I try to pick him up, he pulls me in.
We eat snow, and play.
I stomp back to the van trying to get the blood moving in my feet.
We head into town for hot chocolate and there is a fire.
I only get a little blister on my big toes – they think I am wimpy!
Next day we get to explore the gorgeous shops.
We visit Evolutions in the photograph – it is floors and rooms of glory!
We then go to a lovely store named Hazel Home.
The lovely owner Bill gives me a wooden nutcracker decoration.
He is on Third Street in Wisconsin – it is a great store with an arty feel to it.
I feel the Christmas spirit.
It is now Christmas Eve.
It feels fantastic – it is so pretty, and I can feel the memory bank filling!
We head back to their lovely home.
My son has wanted to try to snow shovel and plough.
He has a great time, and gets the hang of it.
It is nice to see him bond with a male – too few have crossed his path til now.
They head out to learn the snow blower.
I watch from the window with pride.
He is taught the levers etc, and off he goes.
I watch him go up and down the driveway – he is loving it.
And so is the dog.
He does quit before the job is finished.
He is covered in snow.
He has a cracked lip from the cold.
But he has achieved.
It is the first time I have seen him freezing.
Up til now he seems to have been immune to the cold.
The fights have been on to make him even wear his jacket.
Tonight he is thankful for a hot shower.
And a warm home with our friends.
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