My friend Simone and I sat outside on the porch swing, with only a light blanket over our laps for warmth. The winds blew, sending wet leaves to the sidewalk with a splat. We watched the kittens peeking timidly at us as we sipped our tea and ate pumpkin cheesecake.
“It feels strange being out here in this weather,” Simone said as the rain began to fall. “Like walking on a dry riverbed. That feeling like you shouldn’t be able to be here, but you’re here.”
I first noticed this strange warmth on Tuesday. The sky was as cloudy and cold-looking as usual, and I did my indoor work without once wondering what the temperature outside was. But just before I was about to leave for the day, I saw that there was a row of garbage bags on the sidewalk. I’d asked parents and church members to drop off their empty pop cans, so we could recycle them as a fundraiser. And here they were, bags and bags of them.
I went outside to move them to the play structure, bracing for the usual blast of cold air, and what I got instead was a balmy 64°. Delightful. Of all the random things I do as secretary, moving bags of empty pop cans was the highlight of my week.
Unfortunately, by the time I got home that afternoon it was past 4:30, and the sun was setting.
Wednesday was lovely too, but again, I was working, and the sun sets so early these days. I prayed that this strange weather quirk would last just one more day, and then went out to read in the hammock by flashlight.
Thanksgiving morning I was in the kitchen, scrubbing floors and baking pies, when the sun momentarily broke through the clouds and flooded the world with light. I dashed outdoors. It was warm! So warm! Why the bunnyslipper was I still indoors? I grabbed tea and a book and took a break from the Thanksgiving morning hullabaloo.
When I finally came back inside, I mentioned the strange weather to my Dad. “It was 60° when I got up this morning,” he said. “That’s probably only happened ten times this whole year. Even in the summer it’s cold in the morning.”
I got dressed, and then decided to leave the cooking to those more skilled than I, and focus on making bouquets. That way I could be outside. I took a pair of sheers and cut flowering weeds from the garden, apple tree branches with their yellowing leaves, hydrangeas that were turning a rust red color, handfuls of calendulas, and the last of the roses. Then the sun broke through the clouds again, and it was just unfair to keep this beauty to myself. “Amy! Jenny! Do you want to come make bouquets with me?”
Our Thanksgiving dinner was, as usual, a motley crew of distant relatives and people who have nowhere else to go. We ate dinner, had good conversation, and then Simone and I ate desert outside so that we could soak up the relative warmth while it lasted.
People hung around all afternoon, playing games and making jokes, but I was exhausted. I went upstairs and took a nap, and when I woke up, it was dark again.
I looked it up online. After December 9, sunsets will begin happening later and later instead of earlier and earlier. I can’t wait.
Note: After I published this, I remembered another story from yesterday I wanted to add.
Amy had printed questions on all of the place cards, and we went around the table and answered them. My great-aunt Allene had the question, “what moment from your past had the greatest impact on you?” (or something of that stripe) and began talking about working at a Children’s home in Kansas City.
“How old were you at the time?” Darrell asked.
“18 or 19.”
“Wow, you were young.”
“Well,” said Allene, “we could do whatever we wanted once we turned 18. The girls could at least. The boys had to stay at home until they were 21.”
We all thought this was really funny. “That’s not what they taught me in my family studies class!” said Amy.
It was a good Thanksgiving.