We left around 10:30 this morning. It was raining, but the ice of the previous evening was long gone. However, the further north we would drive, the colder it would get...and I was anxious to outrun the winter storm warning for Central Wisconsin and reach our destination for this evening.
Driving across the lower regions of Wisconsin, listening to "98 hours of Christmas music on 98.2 FM", there is no doubt that this is indeed the most holy and magical of nights. It hangs in the air like ice crystals, like the fog on I-65.
I watched the sun set--a pink chalk smudge in a silver-blue sky--across snowy untracked fields and watched light snow blow across the road in ghostly footprints.
We arrived safely after missing the Chicago turn-off from I-94 to I-90. We drove cross country through Lake Geneva and several other small Wisconsin towns to get back on I-90. It was strange that on the highways, the roads were fine, but in the towns, they were slick and snowy. Every time we hit a snowy or blowy patch, John would tighten his grip on the arm rests and draw his breath in, but I had every intention of getting us here safely. He never once suggested we not go, or that we stop early for the night. :-) Gotta hand it to him for that.
We 'camped' this evening at the Red Roof Inn in Madison, Wisconsin. We had to drive up a snow-covered hill to get to our hotel. We checked in, then went to Perkins' Pancake House for dinner. I always wondered what kind of people spent Christmas Eve at an all-night restaurant. Now I know.
We came back to our hotel and I surprised the kids by having our Christmas mugs, and hot chocolate, their new ornaments, and our Christmas stories book.
And we're go to sleep watching "It's a Wonderful Life" on TV. It is certainly a different kind of Christmas Eve. But we are together. We are safe, happy, and healthy. All is calm...