Sunday was miserably wet and cold. But not as cold as Saturday, when district activities were cancelled due to icy roads. So I shook my son's still legs at six a.m. Sunday, rousing him for his rescheduled volunteer task of delivering mulch for his marching band's fundraiser.
An hour later, after much discussion about layered clothes and the finagling of warm gloves under a rubbery working pair, we climbed in the car and quietly drove the short distance to school. There was a mesa of mulch bags sitting in the rain, taking up most of the marching practice parking lot. A few similarly layered teens were heading into the band hall as I dropped my son off with wishes of warmer temps and drier conditions.
Our mulch arrived a couple hours later, thirty bags on the left side of the driveway as we had ordered. The trucks sped off before I could step outside in the continuing cold drizzle and say thanks. My morning was filled with laundry, reading, and the occasional wondering of how the kids were doing, out there in the cold, stacking slippery plastic bags of wood chips in front of houses.
The call came at twelve thirty p.m. Son's shift was over; could he be picked up in front of the band hall? My husband and I left in separate cars. He hadn't signed up to help, but decided to head to the school to see what needed to be done. I saw him walking across the parking lot to the still-towering piles of bags before I rounded the corner of the school.
I expected to pick up a weary, wet, complaining teenager. Instead, he jauntily walked to the car and climbed in, buzzing with happiness and pink-cheeked from the cold. "It was fun!" he said, letting me know who he worked with. I stopped suddenly in the driveway as five young men darted in front of me towards the band hall. "They must have heard about the pizza!" Yes, he had eaten some, but was still hungry, would like some fast food.
Small talk on the way home, and then a quiet afternoon of more laundry and reading. My teenboy fell asleep for awhile on the couch as I received text messages that the band needed more help, but he was worn out and still had homework to do.
The hours ticked by with no word from my husband. I did my Sunday chores of preparing lunches, planning clothes for the week, prodding my son to check his grades online for any missing work. By six p.m. I was hungry, so I made a dinner of leftovers and started to clean up the kitchen.
My husband walked in at seven thirty. I expected a weary, cold, complaining fifty-something, but he was smiling and peeling off layers of jackets. "It was fun!" he said, telling me about operating the forklift to load the pallets of mulch into the delivery trucks and spending the idle time in between deliveries talking with the guys about 'manly' topics. My normally introverted partner had the look of a six year old on Christmas after playing with his new toys.
The mulch men in my house surprised me on Sunday. It was nice to see a different side of them, warming my heart on such a dreary winter day.