By noon, most of the Christmas dinner was prepped: A ham, seasoned and ready for the oven; a scalloped potato casserole, pre-baked and cooling on the counter; a variety of vegetable dishes; and a pot of applesauce simmering on a back burner.
The dining room table was set for four with her best china, crystal, and silverware on a white linen tablecloth with matching napkins.
She gazed upon the holiday preparations with satisfaction, but when she glanced out the window and saw the storm showed no signs of abating, she once again worried about Jack and David. Where were they? Stranded on the side of the highway? What if they'd gotten into an accident? Tired of the silence and her racing thoughts, she turned on the radio and waited to hear the weather report.
"This just in," the announcer came on at last. "Expected snowfall for today is ten to twenty inches, heavier along the mid-Cape. Coastal areas will get a little reprieve but expect temperatures to drop to the low teens. It's going to be a cold one folks, and travel is miserable. Even Santa will have difficulty making his rounds."
By nature, Sara was a practical woman, not prone to hysterics and anxiety, but after losing Lisa she no longer took anything for granted. This latest report was troubling and brought back more memories from last February's blizzard. Hundreds of people were stranded on the road in freezing temperatures, their cars disabled when they ran out of gas, leaving them with no heat, no food, no water. Some people never made it home. What if that happened to Jack? He could be a hundred or so miles away, stuck on some impassable highway, alone. The thought of him freezing in his car today of all days, Christmas Eve, brought her to tears, and she wiped them away.
"I'm being overdramatic," she muttered. "Jack will be fine. And David will be here any minute. Such foolish thinking. I need to keep working and stop worrying. But first - lunch."
As much as she didn't want to hear about the worsening storm, she couldn't turn off the radio. If the bridges closed, she wanted to know right away, even though there was no way to reach Jack or David, to tell them they might not be able to come home, and to ask them to wait somewhere safe for the storm to pass.
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