Mom said it’s been like Miss Twiggley’s tree here lately— which might be my very favorite children’s book, about a funny lady who lives in a tree “with a dog named Puss and a color TV.” When a rainstorm washes the town away, the groceryman and mayor’s wife and police chief and town dogs all paddle to her tree, looking for shelter.
“There’s room for you all,”
Miss Twiggley replied.
“Climb up where it’s warm;
Come up and be dried.”
I hate to spoil it, but my favorite part is the end— where the townspeople gather round the woodstove, playing banjo and Chinese checkers and wrapped in quilts to dry off, and outside the storm is tossing the big boughs of the tree.
There’s always been something – safe – about it.
Well, the rain pounded down here on Tuesday night, and we knew it was turning to snow, so Drew brought Leanna and Barrett with their bags packed, while Drew went out to salt and scrape. Papa Larry came, too.
More snow piled on the eaves in the night, so Mom made up the spare mattress for Leanna, the basinet for little Bear, and the recliner in the family room for Papa. In my bed, I could hear voices on the other side of the wall and baby cries below me, and when I woke at six the next morning, lights from the family room made my window glow. I eased into the kitchen, where Mom was already brewing a second pot of coffee.
She’d been to the grocery store on Monday and battened her hatches. She brought zucchini bread up from the freezer and boiled eggs to go with it for breakfast, and for dinner that night, she served up leftovers from a big roast and fresh pot pies. (She had refilled my jar of flour, too, so we traded off stretching and folding sourdough, which we baked Thursday morning.)
After dinner and just before dark, I pulled on my bibs and boots and trudged down to the greenhouse to sweep a layer of snow off the roof. (We’ve just repaired it and I wasn’t about to let it collapse.) I used a push broom and huffed in the darkness. When I stopped, the silence came all around me— save for the treetops quietly cracking together. I looked up toward the house, where yellow light poured out onto the snow. I knew there was a cookie and half cup of coffee waiting for me. I knew Joel was playing country songs on the guitar and Janaya was harmonizing. I knew Papa was telling stories of the Cape in ’78. I knew Mom was feeding and making beds for them all with a love that bears all things.
I knew I could come in and be dried.
“Miss Twiggley’s new friends
Were cozy and warm,
Sheltered and fed,
And out of the storm.”~ Miss Twiggley’s Tree by Dorthea Warren Fox