"Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next."
- - Ezra Taft Benson
March 24, 2014
Candles, Popcorn and Thee
by Kathryn H. Kidd

Let’s just say that our St. Patrick’s Day was not a riot of shamrocks this year.

I may be Alsatian rather than Irish, but I’ve always been partial to St. Patrick’s Day. No, I don’t run out and get soused on good old Irish whiskey. I don’t sing Irish songs, I don’t drink green beverages and I don’t even make an effort to wear green.

It’s the corned beef and cabbage I like. (Wouldn’t you know my celebration would center on food?) My dear Fluffy is not a beef-eater, but corned beef and cabbage is his one concession to beef-eating. He eats the vegetables that have been cooked with the beef, and leaves the beef to me.

We got up early on Saturday morning and went to our favorite grocery store, stocking up on carrots and cabbage and onions and corned beef. Not one to prolong the excitement, we decided to eat our St. Patrick’s Day meal for Sunday dinner rather than waiting for Monday.

After returning from church on Sunday, while I was busily sitting at the computer working on family history, Fluffy chopped the vegetables and put the corned beef and cabbage and everything else in the crockpot. We were on our way to a joyous feast.

Alas, we did not ask permission of the weatherman before we started our festivities. Suddenly it started snowing. Then the power started flickering. Then, right before dusk, the power went out.

We checked the crockpot. The corned beef was hot. There was juice, and it was boiling, but the vegetables were still raw, and there was no way the meal was edible. It would take hours more cooking before this dish would be ready to eat. This was not a happy development.

Without a computer to use or a book to read, I was semi-lost. I did what I could: I sat in front of the television. At least I could pretend I was watching reality TV.

But then a wonderful thing happened. Fluffy sat beside me. He put a blanket around us, and he put his arm around me. We talked, just like actual people. When dinnertime came, he brought us a sumptuous feast of crackers and cheese and popcorn, which we ate by candlelight. We talked some more. We had a delightful evening.

At 11:05 p.m., just as it was getting uncomfortably chilly in our powerless house, the power came back on. We were able to crawl in bed and spend a toasty warm night, unencumbered by the cares of the world, as the corned beef and cabbage merrily cooked in the kitchen.

We awoke to what Fluffy and I sincerely hope will be the last of (by actual count) 9,276 snowstorms of the season. This is what Fluffy posted on his Facebook page:

Another day, another 4-6 inches of albino manure to shovel. I am *SO* ready for spring!

I have to admit, it wasn’t the best way to start St. Patrick’s Day. At least we had power, so the house was warm. Plus we had a pot of corned beef that smelled delicious.

Fluffy spent the morning shoveling snow. It was heavy snow. There was a lot of it. He said there was about six inches. What was stacked up on the railing of our deck looked deeper than that to me. Other people in our ward said it was “six to ten” inches. I think they may have been closer to being right.

It was a revolting development in any case. Fluffy needed to clear the driveway because I had a doctor’s appointment later that day.

But then the revolting development became a little less revolting. The doctor’s office called to say all appointments had been cancelled, so that freed up our afternoon. Then a friend in the ward who comes over to give me brain exercises called to say the federal government was closed due to the snow, and her husband was on his way over with her. I alerted Fluffy, and our day was suddenly brighter.

I quickly finished my work for the day while Fluffy made a carrot cake, and then we shared our day and our food with friends, playing games and eating corned beef and cabbage and acting silly. What had promised to be yet another miserable snowstorm turned into a holiday we did not plan but will nevertheless treasure.

Who would have guessed when we awoke on Sunday morning that we would spend our Sunday evening eating crackers and cheese and popcorn by candlelight? It wasn’t on our agenda, but a lot of the best things in life are not the things we schedule in advance.

If we can throw our agendas aside at appropriate intervals and enjoy the surprises God gives us — whether the surprises are as small as popcorn by candlelight or as big as an unplanned year in a wheelchair — life is a lot more fulfilling than it is if we can’t adjust to changes in our schedules.

This life is like a roller coaster. We might as well sit back and enjoy the ride.

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About Kathryn H. Kidd

Kathryn H. Kidd has been writing fiction, nonfiction, and "anything for money" longer than most of her readers have even been alive. She has something to say on every topic, and the possibility that her opinions may be dead wrong has never stopped her from expressing them at every opportunity.

A native of New Orleans, Kathy grew up in Mandeville, Louisiana. She attended Brigham Young University as a generic Protestant, having left the Episcopal Church when she was eight because that church didn't believe what she did. She joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a BYU junior, finally overcoming her natural stubbornness because she wanted a patriarchal blessing and couldn't get one unless she was a member of the Church. She was baptized on a Saturday and received her patriarchal blessing two days later.

She married Clark L. Kidd, who appears in her columns as "Fluffy," more than thirty-five years ago. They are the authors of numerous LDS-related books, the most popular of which is A Convert's Guide to Mormon Life.

A former managing editor for Meridian Magazine, Kathy moderated a weekly column ("Circle of Sisters") for Meridian until she was derailed by illness in December of 2012. However, her biggest claim to fame is that she co-authored Lovelock with Orson Scott Card. Lovelock has been translated into Spanish and Polish, which would be a little more gratifying than it actually is if Kathy had been referred to by her real name and not "Kathryn Kerr" on the cover of the Polish version.

Kathy has her own website, www.planetkathy.com, where she hopes to get back to writing a weekday blog once she recovers from being dysfunctional. Her entries recount her adventures and misadventures with Fluffy, who heroically allows himself to be used as fodder for her columns at every possible opportunity.

Kathy spent seven years as a teacher of the Young Women in her ward, until she was recently released. She has not yet gotten used to interacting with the adults, and suspects it may take another seven years. A long-time home teacher with her husband, Clark, they have home taught the same family since 1988. The two of them have been temple workers since 1995, serving in the Washington D.C. Temple.

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