May 15, 2007

Massanutten

That would be the name of the mountain we lived on while we lived in Virginia. I guess I've been getting all sentimental and mushy thinking about it lately, since tomorrow is our 1 year anniversary of moving there (and also our 6 month anniversary of moving back). Life certainly took many crazy, unexpected, windy turns this past year - none of it we could have anticipated, but all of it changing each of us in immeasurable ways. All that to say... I've been aimlessly staring off into space these past few days with a silly little grin on my face thinking of events or situations that we experienced during (what we affectionately refer to as) our 6 month vacation. I had forgotten about this one incident and thought it would be fun to remember together...so, here it is:

It was a rainy, cold, gray Friday. It was mid-afternoon sometime in October, I think. I had already been cold for a good 2 months. I was wearing my newly acquired down filled jacket and gloves, I remember - it must have been at least in the 40's. We were on our way back from co-op which was a 45 minute drive through the country from 'our mountain'. It was nearing 1 o'clock, I recall because my stomach was growling loudly and so were the children, their stomachs, I mean. I couldn't wait to run inside and get a cup of hot chocolate, make lunches at lightning speed and get all cozy for the rest of the afternoon.

Then reality set in. There is only one way up and off the mountain. A very windy, curvy, tree lined road with the occasional deer. Everybody who lived in our community had to go through the main gate entrance. There was also an emergency exit off the mountain for things such as ice storms, but that road was roped off. The emergency road actually was pretty close to our house, maybe 1/2 a mile away only. It took us a good 7 to 10 minutes to wind our way up the mountain before we wound our way back down to where our house was situated. This probably doesn't even make sense. You see, you had to go all the way up to the gate, then wind your way through different subdivisions that went either further up or down the mountain. Ours was further down the mountain. Therefore, you go up to go down. Clear as mud, right?! Well, once you're able to secure this crazy picture in your head, you'll have a better visual for the story that's about to unfold.

So here we are, my hungry crew and I travailing up the mountain when we suddenly come to a quick stop only half way up the mountain. This is odd, I think to myself. There are no stop lights on this stretch of road. Well, we sit there for a good 10 minutes just waiting. We all know how much I love to wait. A plan is formulating in my brain - which surprises me because I thought I was too hungry to think. I'm used to eating lunch around 11:30am and it is now nearing 1pm. Major food frustration was about to set in. If I don't know when and what and where and how my next meal is coming...it's not a good thing. Add to that my parental responsibility of also feeding the three little people who follow me everywhere and think I can make food come out of a hat just because they say the magic words, "I'm hungry!". I guess I've inadvertently given them the wrong impression since food has magically popped out of my purse on several occasions - but that was my own personal stash in case of food emergencies...but I digress. Oh ya, and then there's the little thing of naps that need to taken. The nap schedule is already pretty much shot at this point.

The need for warmth, food and hot chocolate are fueling me on. I get an adrenaline rush and make a quick decision. I ever so gently attempt to turn the car around (on a one lane road) without perilously getting stuck in the 4 foot ditches on either side. Once that feat of driving prowess is achieved, I drive the van down the mountain a bit until I find a little 'pull off spot' shall we say. It is actually just a part of the side of the road that isn't a ditch. I suddenly shift into lieutenant Sargent of the troops and order all in the van to proceed outside with caution. We go into football huddle formation as I explain the task set before us. There is no other option - it must be done. We must all be brave and walk the near mile, in the rain and cold to get to our house which contains the food. I will have to come back for the car. Let's move 'em out!

I feel more like a momma duck with her ducklings waddling behind her. Our speed is slow, it is raining, did I mention cold? and it seems a lot longer than a mile. We reach the 'emergency exit' road that leads into our development. This is good. We decide to start running. Now I'm worried that some of the other stranded motorists are thinking I'm trying to steal children and run away with them. I try to look non-chalant. But how non-chalant can one look when you're running with a big, green bulky coat, a fur hood on, a two year old in your arms and two school aged children - not in school. I felt as if there was a spot light on me. My imagination can run pretty wild sometimes.

We stop several times to catch our collective breaths. The house is in view. It has only taken us 20 minutes, I think. We can do this! We walk up the steps, in the house and all stand in the 2 x 3 space called our entry 'area' and attempt to all take off our wet shoes and jackets. The challenge seems insurmountable. I gulp down a glass of water and race through instructions for Gavin. You see, I still had to go back for the abandoned car. I didn't want to get a ticket for parking on the side of a mountain. I know that might sound absurd, but I've gotten called down by the police before for jay walking, so I'm all about following the letter of the law when it comes to driving safety.

I instruct Gavin to make each of them peanut butter sandwiches. To read Chloe a book and put her down for her nap. I HAD to go back for the car and there was no telling how long I was going to have to wait in that line to make it up the mountain. He was in charge - in a nice, kind, brotherly way, of course. And under NO CIRCUMSTANCES was he to open the door for anybody. I NEVER leave my kids alone and here I was running back to the main road for my car, in the rain (and still hungry) because I was afraid of a ticket. Now I'm afraid someone (a cop) will come to the door and see that my homeschooled children are left home alone. I was wrought with worry. What's a mom to do?

I lock the door and sprint all the way back to the car. Amazing how much faster you can run without carrying a two year old. I made it back in 5 minutes. And what do you know...they had opened the emergency road and everyone was driving thru it. It would only take me 2 minutes to get back home. The boys were super surprised that Mommy made it back so soon. Surprisingly, the day went on as normal. I guess they think things like this happen all the time to people.

Ahhh...the memories. I can almost guarantee that will never happen here in Texas since there are no mountains. I'm sure another crazy adventure will find us though!
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2 comments:

Philip said...

Your story makes me wish I could drive up to that Massanutten home and still find you there. I miss you.
Love,
Kim

Jennifer said...

...like it always does (a crazy adventure, I mean!) :)

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