This is a special edition of the old blog, brought to you from Bozeman.
That's the view looking southwest from the top of the Bridger mountains. We're here for a family ski trip, enhanced by the fact that my brother in law is on the ski patrol at Bridger Bowl, which means we get to park in the employee parking lot and get personalized care when we slam into trees. Win-win, I'm telling you. And tonight we'll be ushering in the New Year from a steaming pool at Bozeman Hot Springs, after which I may almost be able to walk again.
New Year's isn't usually much of an event for us. At least, not intentionally. For ten years we lived in Oregon, on a rented acreage outside of Hermiston, in a single wide mobile home. By this point in our marriage the New Year merited no more than, at most, a second beer and a rented movie. Any suggestion of staying up until midnight was met with mockery from both parties. Thus it was that the end of our first year in Oregon found us snuggled cozy in our bed, sleeping the sleep of the righteous. Or maybe just clueless.
Then the clock struck midnight.
We were completely unprepared when the apocalypse erupted outside our door. BANG! BLAM! BOOM! I shot out of bed like I'd been blasted from a cannon and hit the front deck still half awake, in nothing but barefeet and a t-shirt.
BANG! BLAM! BOOM!
The sky lit up. Volleys of artillery exploded around me. Turns out our neighbors hoarded fireworks for months, just for this purpose. They supplemented their show by firing 9mm pistols into the air. And shotguns. And possibly a few hand grenades, from the sound of it.
At this point, a normal person could have yelled out a few curse words--okay, muttered, because after all these people were armed--then toddled back to bed. I am not normal. I own horses. Three of which had been dozing contentedly in the two acre pasture below the house only minutes before.
Lord only knew what they were doing now.
I grabbed a pair of sweatpants, shoved my bare feet into boots and yanked on my husband's flannel shirt. Forget finding a flashlight. I stumbled out in the dark, sure the horses would have panicked and stampeded through the fence and into the desert, straight to the nearest highway. I was already debating their most likely route when I blew through the gate and into the pasture.
All three of them blinked at me from the corner by the corral, sleepy and puzzled. What the heck are you doing out here? Don't you know it's the middle of the night?
I muttered another bad word. Or five. Then I leaned on the fence and enjoyed the rest of the fireworks display, as long as I was up and all. When it finally ended, I shuffled back into the house, kicked off boots and sweats and coat and burrowed into my bed. My husband grumbled when I put my feet on his leg to warm up.
"Why are your feet so cold? It feels like you've been walking around outside."
I stared at him, astounded. "Well, yeah. I had to check on the horses in case they were scared."
And then I kicked him.