DH got his hair cut and trimmed his beard into a neat goatee. He said he still had long hair on the inside but he had to get a job. To get a job, he vowed he had to be a “citizen”. He was back to flying and was part of a pilot pool. Instead of Carhartts he wore dress slacks, shirt with epaulets and a tie. He’d fly to Atlanta where he would be assigned a charter flight to who’d know where. They were usually short hops and he came home frequently. He was making decent money. We were finally able to get some of the things we wanted.
DD was growing like a little weed but I’d still put her in her bassinet beside the kitchen table while I cooked. She wasn’t too adventurous so I didn’t have to worry about her climbing over the side. Most babies like to be tossed into the air but that would send her into hysterics. She liked calm and quiet.
She was still nursing but I was starting her on solid foods. First came mashed bananas and then mashed avocado. She loved both. Gradually, I expanded the variety. There was apple sauce and stewed apricots. One day, I was in the process of making her baby food—none of the baby food from the supermarket for her! I’d cook peas and carrots together with a little onion and then blend it. I had been reading a book, The Great Controversy, and it was lying open on the table. For some unknown reason, I got her out of her bassinet and took her to the room she shared with her big brother, DS2. She had a crib in there and I put her in it and went back to the food preparation.
I’d found that I could blend the baby food in a half pint jar and it was easy to store in the fridge. I took the peas and carrots (and a touch of onion) off the stove and put the mix in the jar which I screwed onto the blender base. It was busily whirling into a smooth mixture when there was a loud bang. Glass shards and peas & carrots (and a little onion) were flying all over the kitchen. Miraculously, I wasn’t hit by any of it but a lot of it landed in the bassinet. To this day, the pages of the book are splattered with green. I was shaking all over. I never blended in a closed container again. And I thanked God for impressing me to take the baby out of the danger I hadn’t known existed.
It was getting on toward cold weather again and the garden was still loaded with green tomatoes. I listened closely to the weather reports and when frost was predicted, I picked all the tomatoes and took them in the house. The little bedroom off the kitchen was full of them as was the utility room. We had fresh tomatoes for months and what we couldn’t eat I canned.
One Saturday night, we were on our way back from Ogallala and one of the boys was chanting “One, two, THREE! One, two, THREE!” I asked what he was counting. He said, “Someone told me that one of every three drivers is drunk and I’m counting them.” It wasn’t long until one manifested himself. A Nebraska cowboy in a pickup truck passed us so closely the truck bumper caught the left side of the station wagon and opened it up. It was as if that bumper was a can opener.
We hadn’t thought that much about getting another vehicle but once that happened, it brought up the subject. I started noticing other cars on the road. Which one would be the best for our family? It became the main subject of discussion.
Our pastor would come to visit frequently and he had a Peugeot 504 Diesel. He gave it a glowing review and he had me convinced. Diesel was much cheaper than unleaded (how times have changed!) and it seemed to be a good choice. There wasn’t a big rush to buy though the longer we waited, the more impatient the boys became. It was debated morning, noon, and night. Should we get a Peugeot or a Volkswagen Rabbit? DH’s best friend had a white Rabbit with a vanity plate that said “RABID”. I was hoping that didn’t have too much influence on him.
Finally, in November, DH decided it was the time to act. We left the boys to their own devices for one day and DH, DD and I flew as passengers on a commercial flight to Denver. We rented a car at the airport and set out on our quest. The car was to be my birthday/Christmas/New Year/Thanksgiving any other holiday there was that year present.
DH had done his research and had names and addresses of car dealerships. There were two Peugeot dealers in Denver in those days (probably none now) and we did comparison shopping. One had a maroon 1979 Peugeot 504 Diesel on the lot. We test drove it and I was in love. That was my car. The seats seemed to be made to fit my body. It was four-in-the-floor and I was ready to take it home. It didn’t take long to close the deal for more than $1,000 less than the sticker price.
We called the boys (yes! we had a phone!) and told them we’d gotten a Rabbit. That was kind of mean but it was fun. It was four hours to get home from Denver and there was a blizzard coming. We had to get going or we wouldn’t be able to beat it.
It had been an exciting day and we were tired but we were determined not to leave the boys by themselves overnight. That could be dangerous given their proclivity for fighting. We’d put a lot of trust in them as it was.
The blizzard caught up with us. We were only about 10 miles away from home when the snow started falling in earnest and piling up quickly. The wind was blowing hard and the conditions weren’t far from being white-out. We plowed on through the small drifts that had formed across the road and thought we had it made when the snow got deeper. The car was stuck.
The front wheel drive had been able to get us a long way but it was high-centered. We’d violated the first rule of traveling in Nebraska. Never leave home without blankets in the winter.
DH got out and assessed the situation. We had burned part of a tank of diesel and there was the possibility of having to spend the night in the car. The rest of the fuel would have to be carefully budgeted. It was well after dark and getting colder by the minute. What could we do? Would we be able to make it home? All I could do was pray…