The snow is falling outside, coating the entire parking lot, including the pool area, with piles of freezing doom. I am sitting in my hotel. I am mostly warm and comfortable. I am debating summoning a pizza. Maybe even bread sticks. Possibly chicken wings if I’m feeling particularly adventurous.
I keep looking out the window every few minutes. I really hate winter. As much as I enjoy small spaces, I hate the feeling of being stuck anywhere against my will. It’s strange that as a hermit, I’ll spend months of time hiding from the world, but when the weather decides that I have to stay inside, all I want to do is get out and drive around.
I realize that I am sitting in a comfortable hotel room, one hundred and fifty miles from my home, watching Futurama on TV and contemplating having enough food to feed two families delivered to me… and I’m complaining about not being able to go outside whenever I feel like it.
I need a little bit of perspective in life, I think. I don’t actually know any details about my family history, but, I do know quite a bit about Missouri history. So, I can imagine what my ancestors went through, if possibly embellished… a little.
The wind blew across the rolling plains, piling the snow into drifts as deep as the wooden house itself. Inside, the small family huddled together near the fire for warmth. The winter months had come later this year than normal, which was good because they seemed to be staying later, as well. The stores of food would last a few more weeks, and hopefully spring would be here and they could begin planting and working to start the entire cycle again. The five children were beginning to show signs of cabin fever. The snow just needed to end.
Matt sat on the old wooden chair and fiddled his fiddle. If he knew anything about surviving the winter in the Midwest, it was that you had to be able to fiddle. The sounds would reverberate off the wood and Cobb walls of the small cabin home, invigorating and inspiring the occupants. If there was anything that could end the dreary humdrummery, it was a good fiddle, and so he fiddled away. The winter months stuck inside for all but the direst of emergencies, or the call of nature, could eventually consume the minds of anyone and turn familial love into hate and rage. He had heard tales of families going mad and devouring each other until only one was left standing. He, himself, had felt the urge to turn some of the children into good old fashioned settlers pizza rolls. For now he had pushed that thought away. There was still some left over smoked ham that probably wasn’t going to give them all worms for a few more days. Then, then they might have to tap into the youngest. There were five of them, surely they wouldn’t miss one or two…
As he fiddled, he stared longingly out the window. It had been months since he had been able to walk the five miles into town to get a good old fashioned settler krunk on with the other desperately bored and internetless old timey people. Of course, the good news was that with the winter months, the constant, blood soaked, murderous war between the Missouri and Kansas border-landers had been put on hiatus. He longed for the deep future when they would fight that dispute with college sports instead of late night raids to slaughter and burn each other’s farms. Of course, that was really the only entertainment they had. Since TV wouldn’t be invented for another hundred years, even if there was an NCAA Basketball Championship going on, they wouldn’t be able to watch it anyway. After all, every hotel within 150 miles of one of the college towns would be filled with d-bags or worse, Dakotans. So, he sat and fiddled, because there wasn’t anything else to do.
He would consider writing down his thoughts for the sake of future generations, but he didn’t actually know how to read or write. That was pretty common. His kids knew how, so maybe he could enslave one of them to do all the writing for him. That’s was when he remembered why he had all those kids. It meant less work for him. Maybe the pioneer pizza rolls would just have to wait for another winter… when there were grandkids…