After a long and unusually warm fall, winter came quickly to Hubbard, providing bone-chilling cold in early December. High temperatures have been in the twenties with low temperatures around zero degrees Fahrenheit. A light, fluffy snow came down all day Saturday, leaving five inches on the ground. With 16 inches of snow already fallen this winter, the snowmobile trails and ski runs are open.
Jose Gonzales has finished winterizing all of the construction equipment that can’t be used during cold temperatures, getting the pumps on the pressure washers blown out just in time before the freeze. Likewise, Craig Johnson was prepared this year after taking his snow blower in for a tune-up back in October. Susan normally reminds him about such things, but her mind is somewhere. After the rest of the family retires in the evenings, she sometimes listens to mood music while tears well up in her eyes. She knows that she is hopelessly in love with Bill Haley.
Timmy Harnack hasn’t had much to cheer about this year, as his Packers have won only three games. His dad and brother tell him that it isn’t all that bad because the Pack might get a high draft choice next year. Ralph and Marcus didn’t make their annual pilgrimage to Lambeau Field. With the high price of tickets and the number of injuries the Packers have sustained they decided to delay Timmy’s first game at Lambeau Field, even though it might be Brett Favre’s last year. This was an unpopular decision from Timmy’s point of view because he is dying to see the Packer legend in person.
Marsha Lipper-Daley was really upset when two of the members of the city council introduced a motion to rename the Christmas tree the “Hubbard Holiday Tree” at the annual lighting ceremony down at the town square. She was forced to give an impassioned speech imploring the council not to “worship too much at the alter of political correctness.” The council voted the motion down by a 4-2 margin. For now Hubbard, Wisconsin will still have a Christmas tree.
Unity Wilson made a few extra bucks this year selling special wreaths made from “natural pine branches, grown in non-corporate owned forests, untouched by pesticides or chemicals of any kind.” She’s going to visit her sister in Minneapolis this year where both of them have been invited to attend a small gathering at a large mansion on Lake of the Isles in memory of the late Paul Wellstone. Angela Gonzales is decorating the house, complete with four Christmas trees, and is happy that all of her children will be back in Hubbard for dinner on Christmas day. She’s cooking a traditional turkey, complete with Mexican spices and her special guacamole turkey dressing.
Dave has been fixing the old stove in his garage. The wood gathering should be done by Tuesday, just in time for the next “fat chewing session”. There’s a lot of talk about the Iraq war. Some of the folks in the garage feel that we should get out because we got in for the wrong reasons. Dave believes that these are separate issues and should not be linked. “We’re in there now”, roars Dave. “We’ve got to finish the mission. This is not the time to fly the choppers off the Embassy roof like we did in Vietnam. We can’t afford to be viewed as soft in a time when we are at war with Islamic Fascists. The Iraqi people have risked their lives to go to the polls and elect their first permanent government. What is wrong with you, thinking that we should leave now?”
Frank Rogers will come home to Hubbard for the Christmas weekend. He’s had a great time partying with his friends in Minneapolis, but he is looking forward to going ice fishing on Lake Shady with Marcus. Marcus hasn’t told Frank about enrolling in his first college course this January. He’s debating on whether to tell Frank or not. After all, if he doesn’t do well and never takes another course he won’t have to explain his failure to Frank. Marcus isn’t sure he can “hack it” in college. One thing is for sure. If Frank knew about Marcus’ enrollment he would encourage the heck out of him.
The foundry has been operating 24 hours a day. Ralph Harnack has never seen it so busy. Sometimes he chuckles when he looks back at the last presidential campaign hearing John Kerry say, “This is the worst economy since the great depression.” When he was younger Ralph would have complained about the overtime but knowing what it is like to be laid off, he fully appreciates having plenty of money in his pocket. This year he’ll have enough to put the Christmas goose on the table and buy Marcus the new shotgun he’s always wanted. Timmy will get a new bicycle. Last night, over a cup of coffee, Ralph and Betty discussed their thirty years together. They’ve always been working people, but all things considered, it has been a good life. Most people in the world live far less comfortably than they. During this Christmas season they’ve decided to be grateful, for life in the United States has given them prosperity, health, and much more for which to be thankful. It’s going to be a good Christmas in Hubbard, Wisconsin.