Friday, December 25, 2009



A blast from the past story.

If you have been on yahoo lists with me for a long time chances are you have read this story before. I’ve posted it more than once. If not here is the background on it. We moved to the ranch mid November 1997, by Christmas the main unpacking was done, but there were still much to be done. Yet we were determined to have a big country Christmas in our new home. Of course nothing went exactly as planned.

December 25, 1997

Let me tell you about the adventures of Christmas at the Patterson Rock and Tree Ranch.

On the day before Christmas Eve, Ma Patterson (that being me) spent the day baking, spit shining and doing all her little Suzy homemaker things. Pa Patterson (my hairy other half) came in and worked like a Trojan unpacking and wrapping for all those evening hours into the wee small hours of the morning.

On Christmas Eve, Ma and Pa loaded up and headed toward the big town of Norman to fetch their young'n Sean, and the granddoggers Katie and Erik. They arrived at Sean's homestead about 20 minutes ahead of his return from the wilds of the battle zone known as Toys R Us'n.

Bedraggled, looking rode hard and put up wet he quickly gathered his gear, whistled for his team of fine sled dogs and away we headed for the wilds of Wellston, aka: Grandpa and Grandma Patterson's. Arriving after the dinner hour for the rest of the clan our hearty trio wolfed down a good Christmas repast, then scurried to see what Santa had deposited under the tree for them.

All was good, Ma received a beautiful new home for her snow village and a good Rubbermaid barn bird feeder. Pa a gift certificate for do-dads for his favorite toy, the computer, and the young'n got a nice sweater and baseball cap. We were all down right pleased.

Shortly afterwards we scurried back to the ranch. After all, there were stockings to be hung, and critters to feed.

We tumbled to bed shortly after midnight and had a good night’s rest. A good thing for the next day had much in store for us.

Santa gifted us greatly and we were again, much pleased. But the Grinch had made a visit or two as well. At first it was considered minor problems. Ma spilled a little ham juice on the kitchen carpet. No problem, it was quickly cleaned and we moved on. Pa readied the fire in the Ashley, to keep all guests comfy cozy in the sun room if they should desire to get away from the hub bub of the main house.

Ma's grandmother and sibling arrived early, and were quickly underfoot in the kitchen, progress slowed to nearly a screeching stop. Finally, brother Jerry Earl was put to polishing silver on one end of the kitchen, Grandmother Felicia was put in the dining room filling relish plates and a rhythm of cooking and good spirits set in. On a break from the cooking a tour was given of the new homestead. Felicia was impressed, but noticed a slight line of water in the basement. Ma took a peek, “Uhhh, Pa, the water is rising, it is no longer a mere dampness around the edge” she said.

Pa replied he would check it in a minute.

Back in the kitchen the potatoes were peeled and the peelings fed to the goat under the sink. The goat didn't like them and brown murky water proceeded to back up in the next sink. Okay, we can handle this, Pa will plunger it when he takes a break from moving boxes in the sun room.

A voice was heard saying "I thought you said it was just a little water! It's an inch deep down here". Out to the back deck he flew. The sump pump was trying, but not working. Maybe the line is blocked? Out to the field with the granddoggers following along. No water could be found coming out of the line.

Grandma and Grandpa Patterson, with Aunt Evelyn arrived just then. Grandpa checks the basement, we are now up to three inches of water and it's rising quickly! Luckily, most of the
things are up off the floor, but even those are starting to get soggy around the edges.

Ma calls the previous owners and says “ HELP!!! The back up sump pump is not the same and the water is gaining.” Pa takes over phone, Ma rushes back to kitchen where more water
is now backed up in the sink.

Pa comes in and says "Katie is limping" Sean goes to check. A little blood and a limp,

barbed wire? We decide to keep an eye on her. Pa and Grandpa work feverishly trading out pumps and adapting the new one for the old set up.

Miss Dale calls to say she has a few minor problems and says she'll be late for lunch. That's okay, lunch was late for lunch. Finally at 1:30 we set down for the noon meal. As we are all on our second plateful someone asks where the stuffing is? IN THE OVEN!!!!! A quick scurry to the kitchen rescues the stuffing in the nick of time. Miss Dale arrives just in time for fresh from the oven stuffing.

Another check of Miss Katie, the limp is worse and she's definitely showing pain. Ma checks the granddogger and fears a break. A call to the local vet (7 miles away) arranges a meeting on this Christmas Day. $74 later Ma and Sean with a gift wrapped, splinted, drugged up Katie return to the
ranch. No break, just a badly bruised leg muscle from her new found freedom of running free in the country. The vet agrees that she's overweight and sent lower fat dog food home with us. Our peg legged Kate follows everyone who ventures out doors, looking extremely pitiful and in massive pain. Begging for treats to ease her pain.

Back at ranch, Grandma Felicia and Jerry have left, taking only part of their gifts with them (fleeing for their lives I do believe). Miss Dale and Grandma Pauline have made a valiant effort to clean the kitchen, but the sink and goat are still rebellious. So all they could do was fill the dishwasher and make massive stacks of the remaining dishes. Ma's had it, plunger in hand she attacks the belligerent goat. It surrenders, and all backed up water quickly vanishes.

The new sump pump working, Grandpa Alvin decides it's time to form a bucket brigade for the close to 4 inches of water in the basement. Soon all hands, dressed in their Christmas finery, are using 5 gallon buckets passed from person to person to the shower to remove the lower level of the indoor pool. This is continued until all backs have given out. We are down to less than an

inch. It is decided to rest awhile.

Evelyn, Pauline and Alvin leave. Aunt Faye and Uncle Tom arrive, offering all sorts of good intentioned advice on everything from water removal to weight loss. Clean up from the havoc of the day progresses slowly, no return to the basement while they are here can occur, the sump pump is humming. At 7:00 we lean gratefully against the door as the last guest leaves the drive. It has been a long hard day. A peek into the basement shows no increase in the water level. Pa wearily climbs the stairs to spend a wee bit of time with the young'n and Ma tries clearing the kitchen a bit more.

The bed beckoned us early, and we stayed there late the next morn. A quick peek into the basement revealed that the sump pump had pulled nearly all of the water back out of the basement, a cheer was heard. Much fabric will need to be laundered and dried, and we had to cancel our order for trout to stock the new cement pond, but a sewing room is much more needed than a 7th pond on the ranch.

Outside, pain pill in hand Ma ventured, whistling and searching, no granddoggers to be seen. Finally here they come from the back 40. Erik in the lead, a graceful Katie running full speed ahead, with NO SPLINT. No sign of pain, (the vet said it would take 2 weeks to heal) and no limp.

Back in the kitchen Pa peers into the over-stuffed refrigerator, and announces there's nothing in there to eat. Ma threatens his life. A vote was taken, we were both still too tired to deal with the day. Back to bed! Where we hid out most of the day, having snoring competitions.

Sean, who had spent the night on the computer, took advantage of the quiet to sleep until the late afternoon hours as well.

Once all were awake, a vote was taken and a journey to the local burger joint was made. So here it is late in the evening, the basement is dry, Kate is miraculously healed and all is well.

Hope your Christmas was a bit calmer than ours. Jan who just knows she’s going to love living in the country in OK

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