Next week, our fledgling family of three will travel to Kentucky to see my side of the family. We’re excited. They’re excited. Everyone is excited. This trip will encompass a dizzying number of firsts for you. In no particular order, here’s the list of firsts for you I’ve compiled thus far: first Christmas, first road trip over two hours, first Vegas trip, first hotel stay, first flight, first visit to the bathroom on a flight (This, of all the first, keeps me up at night.), first time in Kentucky, first time meeting your uncles, aunts, cousins and nephews, first winter and possibly first snow.
Whew. That’s a lot of firsts, and that list is undoubtedly incomplete. We have some traveling ahead of us, and while the plane flight is thankfully a direct flight into Cincinnati, we have to drive to Vegas to catch it. That’s because to fly from Los Angeles to anywhere in the Midwest other than Chicago around Christmas time costs approximately eleventy gobillion dollars. It costs substantially less to fly out of Vegas, and so we drive. Four hours through the desert and then four hours on a plane. During which, we will not be allowed to honor your frequent use of the one word you can now say. That would be the word “down”, and “down” is where you cannot go. Not on a plane. You will be in our lap, hopefully sleeping peacefully 29,000 feet above the Earth’s surface and not at all bothered by the pressurized air required to sustain us at such heights.
Then, as if that were not enough to contend with, when we land you will have your first true encounter with the heartless scourge known as winter. Thus far in your short life, you’ve only had the briefest encounters with the Season That Shall Not Be Named.
This is, of course, because you live in California, Blue. Here, there is no winter. Only wet and dark summer. Californians are cute about winter. It gets down to a frigid 50 degrees here and the next day, everyone is wearing scarves, beanies, peacoats, UGGs and sweaters with those little wooden toggles around the neck. Meanwhile every transplant from the Midwest or the East Coast heartily mocks them and goes out in shorts and a t-shirt because 50 degrees in December is balmy in most states.
Regardless, your mother is furiously preparing your wardrobe for Winter with a capital W as if it were the zombie apocalypse and snowflakes were zombies. You will NOT be leaving the house in Kentucky in anything less than 3 layers at any given time, and you will NOT have any extremities exposed to the air at any time whatsoever. You will get to play in the snow, however. If there is snow. But you will do it warmly in the warm embrace of snow pants and a down jacket.
There may be snow. There may not. For your sake (and your mother’s), I hope it falls on Christmas morning and not before then. Seeing it coat everything, even the sound of the world around you, is a magical experience. It’s the one weather event that I truly miss after living out here for so long. For just a short time, snow gives everything a fresh coat of paint, and then the salt trucks come through and ruin everything. Gone is the pristine silverly whiteness of fresh powder. In is the grimy layer cakes of muck, filth, salt and packed snow forming walls around every road and highway. I want you to see the first part, and nothing more before we’re whisked away back to the land of no Winter.