The Infamous Ice Storm

April, in Ontario, is as unpredictable
as my father’s temperament –
sometimes warm and encouraging,
sometimes icily treacherous

like that morning, in 1973, when
coaxed by the early appearance of buds
and the mildness of a morning breeze,
we donned confidence instead of coats.

By noon the winds has shifted direction –
rain rapidly turned to sleet then freezing,
and we children escaped school early,
sliding our way across yards, marvelling

at the force that had turned trees into
glass sculptures, imagined ourselves
arctic explorers returning home to
hot chocolate and mother’s worried brow.

Father had not been heard from in hours,
and the absence of traffic attested to
the impossibility of the roads, and we
felt the weight of helplessness descend

fearful for our father’s life,
fearful for his state of mind –
his storms no less frightening
than the one that raged outdoors.

A scratching on the front door
set us all on high alert, and in
stumbled father, a ringer for
the abominable snowman

his hair and brows dripping
icicles, his pallor wan despite
the blueness of lips, the reddish
chafingĀ of cheeks and nose –

one hand clenched in an icy fist
the other clamped onto a box
hoisted upon his shoulder – and
before anyone could utter a word

the ludicrousness of the situation
hit me, and unfiltered, I cried:
“You could have died out there,
but you saved your case of beer?”

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Our challenge to day is to write about a family anecdote.

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

17 thoughts on “The Infamous Ice Storm

  1. Quite the read! Did not expect the humor – nice twist at end. (Effective choice to end it where you did … letting us guess your father’s response.)
    “donned confidence instead of coats” – love the energy in this phrase.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “… his storms no less frightening than the one that raged outdoors.” Wonderful imagery, even if it does carry me back to a man in my own life whose rages terrified me. Your writing is marvelous, V. J.!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Loved the first 2 lines about your dad…”warm and encouraging…at times icily treacherous.” So sounded like my dad. And the poem ended in such a sweet, typically family sort of way.

    Liked by 1 person

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