Slice of life

by Meg Heiman

There are days when things seem to fall in place and others when nothing goes as planned. I had a few days in a row of the latter. <BR><BR>Nevertheless, this day was almost over, and the remaining plans I’d made were simple. What could go wrong? <BR><BR>Driving home from a half hour south of town, my thoughts were of food. It was two hours past dinner, and my stomach had been rumbling for a while, trying to bring this to my attention. At home, I knew there was a pot of split pea soup made by my mother-in-law with the bone from our Easter ham waiting. When I got home, I planned to heat a big bowl of soup for myself. Soon, soon, I comforted my stomach.<BR><BR>Driving home 15 minutes south of town, my thoughts were of a hot bath. It was raining, the first rain of the calendar year, and low temperatures and a low-hanging sky made the day chilling. When I got home, I planned to run a hot bath for myself. Soon, soon, I promised my bones.<BR><BR>Driving home five minutes south of town, my thoughts were of reading. It had been a while since I lay on the couch by the fire with a throw blanket wrapped ’round me, a good book in hand. When I got home, I planned to call the couch all for myself. Soon, soon, I assured my brain.<BR><BR>Driving home through town, my thoughts were interrupted. Something was odd. It was so dark out. The moon, which had served as our night-light the past few nights, had been side-staged by rain clouds. <BR><BR>But there was more. Street lights were out. Stores fronts along Sheridan Street were camouflaged in night. As I crept under the third snuffed-out stop light, I realized there must have been a power shortage. Ely had been unplugged.<BR><BR>As I drove a little further, it became apparent that only half of Ely was out. The east side, past the park, was lit up. And I live on the east side of town. Ha! I straightened up in the driver’s seat. <BR><BR>At home, a dark house and a flashlight’s beam through a window to guide me up our walk greeted me. No electricity meant no hot soup and no hot bath. No electricity meant no book. <BR><BR>Dinner was chunky peanut butter on wheat bread. We had no water, so before bed, I stepped outside and stuck my toothbrush in the snow. I pulled it out, put some toothpaste on it, and brushed my teeth with my right hand. With my left, I melted snow in my fist to rinse with. <BR><BR>I got to bed a little earlier than usual. As I lay on my pillow, my thoughts were of uninterrupted sleep. It had been a few days since I had gotten a good, full night’s sleep. I planned to do so this night. Soon, soon, I sang to my tired body. <BR><BR>Sleep, sleep I did. For a moment. The lights and the well pump kicked on at the same time, jarring me awake. <BR><BR>There are days when things seem to fall in place and others when nothing goes as planned. I’m ready for the former. I just hope it happens soon. Soon.<BR><BR>SPLIT PEA SOUP <BR><BR>1 large ham bone, meat on <BR><BR>1 package dry split peas <BR><BR>1 c chopped onion <BR><BR>1 c chopped celery <BR><BR>1 c chopped carrots <BR><BR>1 c diced potatoes <BR><BR>Juice or gravy made from cooked ham, to taste <BR><BR>Pepper, a dash<BR><BR>Place dry peas in large pot to soak overnight. Rinse, sort and drain. Place meat bone in a large pot with 8 cups or so water; bring to a boil. Turn heat down and cook, covered, until meat begins to fall off. Add peas. Bring to a boil. Add vegetables and juice or gravy. Simmer, covered, until vegetables are done. Season with pepper, if desired. <BR><BR>