Today’s question: How do you feel sexy in minus 39 (F) degree weather?

2 sexy

Today’s question: How do you feel sexy in minus 39 (F) degree weather? Back to this in a moment.

We’ve all had this experience… we get word that a friend or beloved family member has passed, and scurry to arrange our lives to attend the funeral or memorial service. Sometimes these events only touch the surface of our hearts—maybe we weren’t close to the one who passed and so it’s more of an obligatory act of respect.

Other times, it ruins us… for a day… a week… years… and for some, even a lifetime.

A week ago, I set aside a day to drive three hours one way, across a little-traveled highway to attend a funeral. My friend Laura’s father passed unexpectedly. He was only 68.

I grew up in the heart of a large city, and have lived in the suburbs most of my adult life. I’ve never had the experience of living rurally. Freeways and well-traveled city streets—that’s how I get around.

minnesota-mapAnd so, I  didn’t even realize there are still two-lane highways that stretch out across the flatlands, the prairies, the rolling hills, around the many lakes (frozen this time of year), and the richly wooded areas that make up the beautiful state of Minnesota.

January 15th—the very heart of winter. Here in Minnesota, that means sub-zero temperatures, generous and frequent snowfalls, icy roads, short days with scant sunlight, none of which makes for favorable travel across the state on a two-lane highway, to a tiny town I’d never heard of before. I don’t have a GPS, and I wasn’t 100% certain my directions (downloaded from the Internet) were accurate. We’ve all “been there”, right?

*smile*

I watched the weather reports aware that if I drove to the funeral, I had a very small window of (weather) opportunity. I’d have to be up at 6 AM, on the road by 8 AM, arrive in time for an 11:00 funeral, allow 90 minutes for the funeral and a quick hug for my grieving friend, and back on the road by 12:30 so that I could be home before the worst of the snow fell making the roads treacherous.

And then it occurred to me… this would be so much easier to do with a friend. So I called Sandy, a mutual friend whom I’ve never spent time with outside of work or a group of acquaintances, and we agreed to go together… and she was more than happy to drive.

So… true confession moment… {sigh}… I’m kind of a control freak. (Who isn’t?)

*smile*

And I generally prefer to be the driver.
And, I’d never ridden with Sandy before.
And, I sometimes have issues with motion, so a smooth driver is really important.
And, what if she wasn’t a good driver.

You see, the list goes on and on…

*another smile*

But, as I weighed the above list against driving… the only thing to do was to get quiet—to meditate—to center myself—after which I hoped to be able to just allow the day trip to simply unfold.

The day of the funeral, the temperature was minus 8 F with a bitter windchill of minus 25 F. We got a late start, the directions downloaded from the Internet were slightly inaccurate—enough to make us wonder if we’d get there at all—we were stuck behind slow moving cars for most of the drive. Fortunately, the funeral started late—in a tiny town that, unless you happen to live there, no one has ever heard of—in a forgotten farming community—yet, more than 400 people showed up!

And there, in the front of the church sat a shiny ancient John Deere tractor. The first tractor the family had ever had—a fine tribute to the man who not only farmed—but who believed in farming.

john-deere-tractor-04

Sandy and I surveyed the area. No place to park. I was in heels and a knee-length skirt. Sandy had dressed a bit more practical and wore woolen slacks. She offered to drop me off and normally I would not have agreed, but it was so close to 11:00, and I felt compelled not to argue—a strong, intuitive nudge that I knew was important to listen to.

And so I simply agreed, trying not to feel guilty that Sandy would probably have to walk two or three blocks back to the church, across icy streets and sidewalks, after she found a parking spot.

I stepped into the church—actually, I was blown in on an unforgiving gale that nearly toppled me forward (really, it wasn’t the high heels!)—just as Laura and her family were moving away from the casket that cradled her father’s body. Laura was crying loud, broken tears—the kind that rip out the back of your throat—and fill your eyes, blind. She stumbled and then swung in my direction as if someone had pointed and said, “Look, Rebecca’s here.”

Laura propelled herself into my arms. We clung to each other—locked in grief and love. I have often felt that Laura is the daughter I never had. And as I held this lovely woman, who in that moment was so broken by grief, I felt humbled by the immense power of love. The force of friendship. The bond of connection. The strength of people interknit by the grace of community, hard work, and common faith.

When she could speak, she asked me to stay after the service until they returned from the grave site.

“Of course,” I murmured.

Meanwhile… Sandy walked four blocks in minus 8 F weather after parking the car, and blew into the church much like I had. We squeezed into the back of the sanctuary and sat watching the bowed, balding and greyed heads of so many farming families, their bodies bent and grisly from the labor of their work. We listened to the words of the Lutheran minister with his slight Scandinavian accent who clearly knew Laura’s father well. We sang from an outdated Lutheran hymnal, sat in the vibration of the soloist’s voice who sang The Lord’s Prayer, watched in silence as Laura, her two sisters, and their mother grappled with the moment they would say good-bye to this giant of a man who was the cornerstone of their family.

The service ran long…

The family was delayed at the grave site.

Starving, Sandy and I waited, and were the very last to go through the food line. We loaded scalloped potatoes with ham, and green bean casserole onto our paper plates, picked up a cup of stout, black coffee and crowded in (butt-to-butt) at the long tables in fellowship hall where we listened to more stories about Laura’s dad, and of course, when people found out we were headed back to “the cities”, dire predictions about the weather—which was turning (for the worse) while we sat—waiting—keeping a vigil for Laura.

Because she asked us to.

We were way off schedule by the time we left that tiny little town, the wind whistling at our back… until we hit the highway… and then it blew straight into us, icing the windshield, frosting the surface of the highway, creating an icy road.

blowing-snow

It’s been a week since that trip, and just now I sent off an email to Sandy, whom I haven’t connected with since the funeral.

Dear Sandy,

I’ve been meaning to drop you a line.

I felt your heart… while you were driving like a champ… while we were sitting in the back of the church where our friend has done so much of her growing up… taking a break from the treacherous drive back to eat really awful (how old were they???) treats in a bakery that looked so charming from the outside… making our way over a highway as it began to ice… nosing our way through blinding, swirling, white-out conditions.

I believe those are the kind of experiences that create memories (and smiles) and bind friends together on a deeper level.

So… thanks for the adventure, for your courageous determination (is Michael Andretti your cousin?) and oh, by the way… I know what to get you for your birthday… see below 🙂

red driving gloves

Soft breezes, friend of my heart!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Now… may I just say… today is even colder than the day of our little adventure. The perf5.000x8.000.inddschools are closed due to cold. And this leads me to my question of the day…

How do you feel sexy in minus 39 degree (Fahrenheit) weather?

Well, if you want to know how Jillian and Gavin manage “sexy” in a Minnesota winter, read my latest release, NAKED HOPE, now available in print and ebook through the publisher, The Wild Rose Press or at a slightly discounted rate on Amazon.com.

As always, thanks for dropping by, soft breezes and stay warm!

PS: I’ve conferred with Jillian and she agrees… red leather driving gloves are just about guaranteed to make a girl feel sexy… no matter the season 🙂

Love,

Rebecca E. Grant
Love is Unstoppable

CRADLE OF LIES – Romantic Suspense – Red Sage Publishing
LIBERTY STARR – Sensual Contemporary award winner-Romance Writers Ink–Carina Press
Latest release: NAKED HOPE – Contemporary Romance available in print and e-book
The Wild Rose Press (print only)
Amazon (ebook and print)

* * * * * * *                                             * * * * * * *                                               * * * * * * *

WEBSITE * LOVE IS UNSTOPPABLE BLOG * FACEBOOK * TWITTER * LINKEDIN

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