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Not an O. Henry Story But Close Enough

Dear Kay,
What I didn’t tell you yesterday in my story of pioneer survival amid dire circumstances was that my car got stuck. In the crummy driveway. You see, our garage is under our house, kind of a Bat Cave deal where you swoop up a steep short hill to get out and fight crime.
It turns out that if you’re swooping out to do errands, and the hill happens to be coated in ice, you have maybe one shot at swooping, and if you decide halfway up the hill that you need to stop, your car will start to slide right back toward the very Bat Cave you were trying to leave. Well, for some unknown reason I decided, halfway up the Bat Cave Entryway, that I needed to adjust my exit angle. I think the “Holly and the Ivy” blasting out of the radio was a factor, or maybe I was feeling a little too clever for getting out of the house before I packed up the boys in a box and mailed them to Aunt Buffy.
For one lurching moment I thought, I can’t believe I’m going to have a wreck with my own house. As the Mom Bomb slid, and kept sliding, I wondered, Will it make a crunching sound? Like a Roadrunner cartoon where Wile E. Coyote stops at the very edge of the cliff, the Mom Bomb came to rest about twelve inches from the wall of the house. I sat for a while, wondering what would happen if I took my foot off the brake, if I shifted to the left, if I exhaled.
I finally bailed out, tenderly shutting the door knowing full well that if I slammed it, two tons of Mom Bomb would plow into the garage, taking out the barbecue grill, the recycling bins, the litter box, a soapstone Inuit carving, and the entire kitchen above it.
I found solace in hanging with the fellas and knitting up a pile of this scribble lace.
The Next Day
So I’m sitting in the kitchen this morning snarfing down Sister Schubert Cinnamon Yeast Roll number FOUR, drinking reheated coffee because remember we don’t know how long this ice will be here, and we might run out of coffee if I don’t ration it, and Hubbo comes in. He has a sheepish look on his face, and he tells me, “Ann. I’m rilly sorry but I didn’t get you anything for your stocking. I know you like stocking things and all but . . . I saw the stockings [ed note: see Found Objects for recent photograph of the actual stockings to which he refers] and it made me remember to tell you that I . . . didn’t . . . and I’m sorry . . .”
Then he says, out of the blue, “I’m going out to get your car out.”
The next thing I know, he’s out there with the de-icer pellet stuff, a snow shovel, and two boxes of kosher salt (“We answer to a higher authority”). I watch him, no hat or gloves, doing his thing. Sprinkle sprinkle scrape scrape and the Mom Bomb is miraculously at ground level, ready to blast off. I hadn’t even finished slurping down Sister Schubert Number Five, and Hubbo had given me the beautifullest Christmas present of all: a liberated Mom Bomb.
Merry Christmas to all. Clif, so very five, just told me in a knowing way, “Mom. Tonight. I’m going to be keeping an eye on, you know, Santa.”



  1. Oh Ann, how I remember those southern ice storms! And your Hubbo apologizing about the lack of stocking stuffers…sooooo sweet. My stocking is hung with care by my Hubbo’s (which is full). I’m trying to not mention it… Stay warm and I hope the melt happens soon! Merry Christmas!

  2. Ann! Your story! My heart is still beating with anticipation. What will happen next? Will she run into the garage wall? Will opening the door send her beloved mom bomb reeling into the basement? It’s like an episode of CHiPs, minus Eric Estrada plus Sister Schubert. Not quite The Long Winter, but almost! (Thanks for remembering that, BTW. Getting rusty. Must drag that set out to read again! V. worth it.)
    And the scribble lace! I must learn how to do that. Just tuck that into your own stocking when Hubbo’s back is turned, then act surprised on Christmas morning: “Oh! Hubbo! You shouldn’t have! Just what I’ve always wanted! Scribble lace!” If it’s unfinished, that’s okay, too, because then you’ll just set down in the corner chair with a cup of reheated coffee and commence to knitting. Merry Christmas!

  3. Great story. Husbands may not be very good at remembering to fill stockings but they do come in handy sometimes, don’t they? ;0) I always get a kick out of finding hubby sitting his desk, working away normally at the computer, but surrounded by a dozen little toys from the boys all freshly glued together and drying in vices. You gotta love a man who can do that like it was nothing.
    Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas!

  4. Merry Christmas, you two. Thanks for all you’ve done this year!

  5. MOM BOMB! That’s a good one! I’ll adopt that one. I used to use Bimbo Box (stolen from Neal Stephenson who wrote it in a real boox) but Mom Bomb is much funnier and gentler!
    Thanks for the present–Mom Bomb–hehehehehehe!

  6. Merry Christmas to you both, and all your sundry families etc. You’ve both added so much to my fabulosity level this year. Thanks, ever so.

  7. Ann, what a wonderful Christmas tale. Someday I will have to share my California driveway story (It rose at an angle of about 80 degrees, replete with a sharp turn, a cliff on one side leading straight into the neighbor’s yard, a wall on the other side – needless to say I can relate as I have shed real and frequent tears in that driveway!), with a superb ending. A stocking stuffer the size of a car! The scribble lace is lovely, too. Have a happy, merry, etc!

  8. Okay, now I feel like a wimp because we got a little blanket of snow over here and it’s rilly rilly cold for a California/Mexico City weather person like me. You know what it’s like to be in real snow!
    Happy holidays to you and your family!

  9. OMG – I was even reading that in slow motion AAAGGGHH style ! So does the liberated Mom Bomb fit in a Christmas stocking then ???


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