Inside we were safe and warm. The waffle iron steamed and hissed, maybe in objection to the howling wind and drifting snow outside. Our plates were filled to the edges with homemade waffles. The butter melting into the maple syrup made a sweet, buttery mix. I stirred the topping gently with my fork and carefully put a piece in my mouth. The buttery liquid dripped down my chin and onto my favorite gray wool sweater. Wetting the corner of a towel and absorbing the sweet oily trail that lined my front, I inched near my husband who was sitting on a stool at the counter and had two odd shapes of waffle stuck to his fork. I imagined leaning in close whispering, “Maybe I won’t go.” and then I would seal that wish with a gentle kiss on his ear.
Hesitating, I said nothing and walked away. He’d be mad, I thought. It is so cold. I don’t want to go.
Family traditions are so important. Sunday waffles lure my adult children home. We tell stories. We laugh. And we eat. This particular Sunday, we had made plans to walk, but the snow and ice came. We would try to snowshoe.
The wind was biting. Elizabeth and I were wrapped in scarves in a futile attempt to cover skin. Jerry pulled the soft fleece neck warmer, above his chin. Aaron had no gloves and tucked his hands in his sleeves. The field had areas that were drifted while exposing patches of crusty icy snow. We trudged one by one through the open field in the expected snowshoe kind of waddle. Chins down against the wind. For a time I moved with my eyes closed. My nose ran, it was so cold. Finally we reached the woods-protected from the wind. The trees were heavy weighed down with snow-the trail swallowed by bending trees a natural arbor overhead. Along the trail laden trees touched us as we passed dropping puffs of powdery snow. It was truly a winter wonderland. I stopped. I listened. I watched my family ahead and realized that I almost missed this.