Saturday, December 17, 2011


A heavy snow blanketed the town of West Middlesex the Saturday before Christmas in 1972. Mom had to get up for the Deacon's breakfast they held(and I'm sure they still do) every year to pack baskets for the shut-ins. Not being a morning person, she, more than usual, had to fight to get out of bed. A headache and weakness needed to be conquered that morning.
Dad had his typical headache since his whiplash and thought nothing of it. He shoveled the walk so Mom could walk over to the church. Mom left just as he was finishing. He opened the door, smelling the natural gas stench or odor. Immediately, he ran up the stairs to wake me up.
"Mollie, hurry get up, something is wrong with the furnace. Get dressed, we have to get out of the house," he quickly told me.
I threw on some clothes, ran a brush through my long blond hair and exited the house with my dad, who just got off the phone with the gas company. The sun bright on the snow, but nerves kept me from enjoying the beautiful day.
We ate at the Isaly's counter. I can't even remember what we ate, I was so shook up. I had never ate there before like that or since. I'm sure I listened as he told Margaret about the fiasco. I sat still.
Dad must have called the gas company back, because we started up the hill back home.
We ambled on the other side of the Main Street, quiet. I threw up in front of Sam Clarke's old home, all that Isaly's breakfast on the fresh snow, my hair hanging down. Seeing my turquoise knit pants and black boots had missed the chunks.
An owl had fallen into the flue, and blocked the vent. It became petrified, but the furnace hadn't been needed until this cold night. Mom came home to all this drama, understanding why she felt better after fresh air and breakfast. The talk was if we had had a smaller house, we probably all would have died. So glad for that deacon's breakfast that morning, and our big house.
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