A Holiday novella. The Shoemakers and Ferraros plan to spend Christmas in Texas with Larry and Jane Ann’s brother and then take a camping trip through the Southwest. But those plans are stopped cold when they hit a rogue ice storm in Missouri and they end up snowbound in a campground. And that’s just the beginning. Includes recipes and winter camping tips.
It was still dark when Frannie woke. Really dark. It took her a moment to realize that the soft snores behind her were coming from the dog, not Larry. And then another few minutes to realize the reason it was so dark was that the nightlight in the living room was not on. The bulb might have burned out, or more likely the power had gone off—not a good thought.
She got up, shivered, and grabbed a hooded sweatshirt. In the living room, she checked the space heater—not running. No lights on the microwave either. So the power was definitely off. She curled up in the recliner with a fleece throw and mentally checked off what that meant.
None of the outlets would work. The 12V ceiling lights would still operate, the fridge would switch to propane, and the stove was also propane. The water heater could run on gas but since they had no water in the tank, that didn’t matter. The microwave was out but the furnace was propane. Fortunately they wouldn’t need the AC.
She turned on one of the ceiling lights and looked at the wall clock—5:30. That meant coffee. But she couldn’t use the percolator or make instant in the micro. Mickey and Jane Ann had a generator and would no doubt fire it up but probably wouldn’t be awake for a while.
She was getting out a saucepan to heat water for instant when she remembered her ‘flower pot.’ She kept an old stovetop percolator under the sink and used it for flower arrangements for the table. And every time that she took the basket and stem out of it, she wondered why she didn’t just throw them away. Now she knew why. After filling the pot and the basket, she folded back the stove cover and lit one of the burners. While waiting for the pot to perk, she checked the phone and the iPad. No reception.
There was a thunk sound from the bedroom, and Dasher poked her nose around the curtain.
“C’mon, girl.” Frannie sat on the couch and patted the seat. Dasher jumped up and snuggled next to her.
“You don’t know how lucky you are,” Frannie whispered. “None of our dogs ever have been allowed on the furniture or the bed.”
When the coffee finished, she turned off the burner and got out one of the Christmas mugs and poured a cup. It was a little strong and slightly gritty. But since a half hour before, she had thought she might have to do without for a couple of hours, it was the best coffee she had ever tasted. She wrapped her hands around the bright red mug and looked at the dog.
“So where did you come from? Is someone looking for you?” The dog cocked its head at her as if it was considering how to answer the question.
“And, you know, you would have been smarter to have found a nice warm farmhouse with a well-stocked fridge. We might end up as bad off as you were last night.”
No answer, so she picked up her book. After a few minutes, she closed the book on her thumb to save her place and leaned her head back. Christmas Eve morning. It seemed less and less likely that they would be getting out of this park today. Hopefully, they would know more when the ranger called.
And what about the shower house? Did the plumbing depend on an electric pump? It might be a good idea to bring in a couple of buckets of snow to supplement their water supply. They could subsist several days on lunchmeat sandwiches but it would be nice to do something special for Christmas Eve. She was sure they could concoct something, but dozed off before she could decide what that was.