Family: Life’s like that in winter

Positive to positive.

Negative to negative.

This is the kind of practical, common sense stuff it is really good to know when it is -32C.

It is also good to know how far you can actually stretch your booster cables between two parked vehicles.

It was an icicle day outside, the kind of day some people would say was fit for neither man nor beast, but, whatever, here we were, out in it.

The brave souls of Alberta. That would be us.

Well, not so brave, really, but what do you do when your cupboards are as bare as Mother Hubbards cupboards?

You brave the elements. You get groceries.

I decided to soften the cruel blow Mother Nature had inflicted not only on me, but on all of central Alberta with ridiculous temperatures, by texting a friend.

“Coffee?” my text said hopefully. True it is hard to tell expressions in texts, but I’m sure she would see the benefits of wrapping her fingers around the comforting warmth of a coffee mug, plus enjoying the pleasure of sharing the company of a good friend, namely me.

She didn’t respond. Apparently, she had left her cell phone at home.

And so, not being one to procrastinate unless, of course, I can think of a reason to do so, I started out to get my much needed groceries.

As fate would have it, I bumped into my friend in the parking lot.

“It’s so cold,” she muttered, trying to maneuver multiple grocery bags into her car.

The lady had just returned from Cuba. She was still wearing a suntan. No wonder she was cold.

“Welcome home,” I said, rubbing my mittened hands together in a futile attempt to restore the circulation.

“Coffee?”

And so it came to be that I found myself sitting in our favourite coffee hang out waiting for her.

And waiting.

Finally, she showed up, bringing a blast of winter with her.

It turns out her car wouldn’t start, and even though she tried to grab my attention when I drove away, she had failed and so she had been forced to hitch a ride with someone else.

“Sorry,” I muttered. “I didn’t see you.”

“Booster cables. Do you have booster cables?” she quizzed me.

“I sure do,” I replied, smug in the knowledge that I was prepared for this crappy weather and all the crappy stuff that could happen as a result.

“Positive to positive. Negative to negative,” I muttered.

“What?” she questioned.

“Nothing,” I replied.

With a little help from a friend, who wasn’t a friend before we enlisted his help, we got her car going. She set off with great determination to immediately buy a new battery. Unfortunately, it turned out she had great determination with her, but no money.

It seems she had left her purse in my car.

I practically threw myself in front of her vehicle so she could be armed with both. I waved frantically, but she determinedly drove away, her mind, no doubt, elsewhere.

I knew I had no choice but to follow her because the poor lady simply could not purchase a new battery without her purse.

I found her without difficulty and pulled up alongside of her car, purse in hand.

We were both laughing at the comedy of errors that had followed us that day.

She took the purse from my outstretched hand and suddenly became serious.

“Don’t you dare write about this in your column,” she said, in a voice dripping with authority.

It’s weird how that works.

Until she issued that command, I had no intention, whatsoever, of writing about it.

But, once the seed was planted, there was turning back.

I simply had no choice.

And, so I did. I wrote about it.

I feel badly, of course!

Or not!

Treena Mielke is the editor of the Rimbey Review. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.

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