It was late in the evening, dusk fell to night and Halloween was only two days away. The surrounding woods were hastily becoming more dark and snowy by the minute. Mike said to me, “I’m going to drive down and look for power”. I nodded. As he rushed off into the blizzard, the lights in the house flickered; a surge of power arrived, but only briefly and only once. It was soon gone, and not even worth mentioning. It gave me hope as I watched him drive off into the cold and dark night. I held Max tightly and then bundled him in multiple layers of fleece and footed pajamas. Trey had gone to the doctor earlier in the morning and was extremely ill and unaware of the dark details around him. He slipped in and out of a deep slumber, only occasionally awakened by his own violent coughing. My cell phone was tight in my hand and it rang frequently.
I lit candles and kept my babies warm while we waited in the drafty and dark night. I continued to pack, hopeful we’d soon be able to find a solution when I saw headlights pull around the corner, fighting through ten inches of snow that now covered the ground. I had never seen anything like this so early in the fall, the pumpkin colored leaves were being smothered by the heavy white freeze falling upon them. Tree limbs cracked loudly and fell to the ground.
“Hi mom, so glad you made it! I bet you weren’t counting on this, huh. Not the greatest hospitality. Sorry”. Laughs and hugs and hellos soon followed. One down. One to go. Mike was still out on the road. An extra set of motherly hands never hurts in these situations, so I was at least grateful for that. We were moving the next morning… or so we thought.
I got a call from Mike, he said, “We have the key and they have power. Pack some bags, only what you need and we’ll go to the new house”. The heat was on, it was already furnished, and it sounded almost too good to be true. So, we rushed madly. Medicine? Check. Toothbrushes and toiletries? Change of clothes for everyone? Check times three. Sippy cups, crackers, milk, cereal, water, cans of soup, jars of sauce, boxes of rice and pasta and granola bars….check.
My mom watched Max as he ran around the dark house, holding a flashlight. He appeared to be having the time of his life as he kept trying to turn on all the lights by climbing on the packed boxes and flipping the switches. Trey continued to drift in and out of consciousness, moaning and sniffling in his sleep. We waited. Mike arrived and he packed the car, quickly. We grabbed the bundled kids and my mom and we snuggled tight with extra blankets, seat belts fastened and thankful for four-wheel drive. There was zero visibility…all I could see was white flying at us. I still have no idea how he drove around all the tree limbs down the mountain.
We got to the base and drove into town. Off in the distance, nestled between the lighted snow-covered mountains, the tiny village we now call home rose up to greet us with its comforting gates and well lit walkways, we knew we’d be just fine if not even better. The door opened and the children and my mom went to explore and get cozy. The lights were working, as was the heat. We walked in and were never more thankful. No, really….I had never been more thankful for anything in my whole life. It was gorgeous too. Honestly, it was one of those story book happy endings that one never forgets. I breathed deeply. The fireplace, the heat, the coffee maker, the nicely made beds, the two bathrooms.
Fairy tale ending? Check.
We woke up the next morning to peaceful, blue skies and it was then that I realized I had forgotten the camera. I snapped a photo with my phone, since it was too pretty to pass up.
We went back a few days later just to grab the last of our things that had not yet been moved to storage and we said goodbye. Goodbye to the shoveling and the broken refrigerator door and the tiny, lone bathroom and the terrible water pressure. Goodbye to the bears that live in the backyard and goodbye to the mouse in the basement. Goodbye old house. Now we’re only ten minutes away from that house, but it feels like a world apart.
This is one of those recipes that I must make every single November. My mother made it around Thanksgiving when I was little and it’s just not November without this recipe, honestly. I added the cranberry pomegranate glaze to cut the tartness of the cranberries. The citrus adds just a hint of sweet, a nod to the upcoming holidays. Plus it plays well with the orange in the cranberry walnut bread. It’s comforting, like a warm fire on a snowy night.
Cranberry Walnut Bread
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- 1 egg, well beaten
- 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped (plus more for top design)
- 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts (plus more for top design)
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease or spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in orange juice, orange peel, shortening and egg. Mix until well blended. Fold the cranberries and nuts into the batter. Spread batter evenly in loaf pan. Top with additional nuts and berries in desired design.
Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes.
Note: Serve fresh warm, or toasted the following morning with warm cranberry pomegranate glaze (recipe below). Keep in air tight container for up to three days to maintain freshness.
Cranberry Pomegranate Citrus Glaze
- 1/4 cup fresh pomegranate juice (seeds removed)
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (seeds and pulp removed)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh whole cranberries
- 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon lemon zest
Bread: Adapted from source