NOTE: This is an on-going story (in ten parts) entitled "The Blizzard Coat." To become more familiar with this entry, be sure to read back posts that entail earlier "parts."
Usually the Christmas season was a time of relaxation and gratitude in Annalie's family. Instead of hurrying from shop to shop to collect presents for the family, the women would stroll gaily through the snow, a smile across their lips. This Christmas was different though. Lights were hung outside, trees were cut down, and fire wood was chopped without one flake of snow in sight. Still, as the family gathered for the holiday, there was blind hope; a sort of dull electric current emanated from the house.
As the hours ticked by, the anticipation of a surprise snowfall hung anxiously in the air. Every Bailor woman took turns glancing out a window every ten minutes hoping, waiting for white specks to trickle down from the clouds. The lack of their seasonal topping made each woman impatient and restless, which made the holiday almost unbearable for the men.
Her mother’s famous Chunky Chicken Pot Pie was served for dinner, as was tradition. It caused all the children to flap their arms and stomp their feet while singing “Do the Funky Chunky Chicken with meeee!” Regrettably, this only built onto the mounting headaches of every adult in the room. Though the pot pie was delicious and satiated most of the women's anxiety for a few moments, Annalie’s sister, Jane, had a painful craving for her asparagus-and-marshmallows-wrapped-in-an-Eggo-waffle sandwich to tame her screaming pregnant taste buds.
Jane's husband, Jack, wasted no time in offering to get out of the house and run to the store for his wife. "No, no, I'll go," he said to the other men and jumped up in jubilation at the opportunity. His stocking feet padded against the white carpeting as he rushed to the foyer. “Where are you going?” Eddie asked Jack as he descended the staircase. Eddie had just spent the past hour putting Mason to sleep in a quiet bedroom upstairs.
“The baby is demanding is own menu, wanna come with me?” Jack asked and stole a glance beyond his shoulder into the living room. The Bailor women sat quiet, cross-legged--some with a foot bouncing in impatience--and all stealing glances out the picture window.
Jack didn’t even bother to button up his coat or tie his shoe laces. He had one foot out the door before Eddie agreed in carefully contained excitement. The rest of the men glowered in jealousy from Eddie and Jack’s freedom.
The curiously long time that passed in their absence was spent in heavy silence around the fireplace. The children had been forced to go to bed, although once in a while there were muffled whispers that escaped from behind the door of the den. The relatively new Bailor women—the wives of both of Annalie’s brothers—occassionally tried to make small talk and liven the situation, but when that failed they sought refuge in the family room to watch the last installment of the "A Christmas Story" marathon on television.
A soft, soothing voice on the radio delightfully shared listener's Christmas stories on a LiteFM radio station. It drifted through the silence and sighs between each woman. It had to have been the first Christmas that their Minnesota hometown ever experienced the lack of snow, but each woman stayed awake stubbornly, waiting for their white Christmas.
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