It took a long time to leave the trailer. Goose had me get my coat and boots on… I felt like a small child standing there. All bundled up like the little kid from The Christmas Story movie. As I waited for all the goodbyes, and thank yous to be said, the hugs to be shared. Then the Aunt on the Left said… “oh you guys need to take some lefse home.” (OMG! It’s seriously HOT in here!) I looked at Goose with a sizzle in my eye, but he didn’t notice. The aunts began packing lefse, a dozen at a time.. (they counted every single one) into storage bags. With the care they took, you’d think this stuff was gold. The Aunt on the Right was concerned about the lefse still being too warm to pack up. She placed her hand inside the middle of the pile and remarked, “oh, they’re cooling down nicely.” They didn’t notice me melting over there in the corner. Once we finally made it out the door, steam began rising from my head. Goose noticed it too, and quipped, “You need to keep your hat on or you’ll get cold.” (Oh we could only hope!)
The snow had stopped falling, but it was still blowing over the roads, polishing the surface to a glaze of ice that glistens when the car lights shine on them. So now we can see where we’re going if we do slide right into the snow filled ditch. Goose told me I worry too much. I silently counted the cars already in the ditch as we drove home. It gave me a focus so I wouldn’t worry too much. In the fifteen miles back to Goose’s house there were 8 cars in the ditch. Fortunately, we didn’t become one of them.
After a few hours of sleep and a hearty breakfast, Goose headed out to clear the snow from his own driveway and out buildings on the acreage. I meandered around the house, tidying up and snooping. (…did I say that out loud?) I wanted to see a picture of Goose’s wife. I wanted to know if I was similar to her or different in my looks. There weren’t any obvious ones anywhere that I’d noticed. None on the wall in the dining room where the pictures of their children and grandchildren were hung. Not on the dresser in the bedroom. I didn’t see any photo albums on a coffee table or a bookshelf. Now the lack of a picture was creating even more curiosity.
In looking for the vacuum cleaner, I opened the hall closet door. Didn’t find the vacuum or a picture. Lots of coats and extra blankets and beautiful hand-made afghans. The next door in the hallway leads to a spare bedroom. (This room could be a whole new career move.) Just inside the door to the right is an old cabinet sewing machine. Then on the far wall is a large shelving unit holding various extra appliances. The kind you use for large quantity cooking like high school graduation parties. There were stacks of extra paper goods, bottled juices and soda. In the closet I found the vacuum! And all of the Christmas decorations. No photo albums. It’s becoming a quest. But I’d better vacuum before I continue snooping. As I’m vacuuming, I begin to feel guilty for looking around. Wouldn’t it be reasonable to just ask Goose to see a picture of his wife? It seems it should be. But I don’t want to upset him or open up something painful. Obviously any pictures of her must be put away. My thoughts are whirling around like the dust inside this vacuum cleaner. That’s when I noticed the picture hanging on the refrigerator. The one with three couples all sitting together. All wearing western clothing and mountains in the background. I didn’t recognize any of them. Then as I looked closer, I recognized Goose… so the woman next to him was his wife. There was the picture, hiding in plain sight.
I was so lost in my thoughts that I didn’t notice Goose was standing behind me. He pulled the plug from the wall and the vacuum stopped. I saw him when I turned around to investigate. “Just what do you think you’re doing?” Goose asked. I felt the pit of my stomach cringe. He must have seen me snooping around. I felt so embarrassed. “I don’t ask you to come here so that you can clean the house.” I replied, “I just wanted to be helpful.” Goose went on about how he really should hire a cleaning lady. I felt relieved that he wasn’t upset with me, but still a little guilty for being such a snoop. As Goose walked into the other room he asked, “Are you up for a road trip? I have an idea…”