Even though my wife and I, were snug as a bug in a rug, we often thought about what had become of family members. It's not that they hadn't heard me tell them time and again that something like the crisis might happen. Perhaps, they were blinded by society and couldn't see it coming or refused to believe it, until it was too late? Life is so fragile. We both knew in our hearts that most people were caught completely unable to care for themselves in this environment. We'd often discuss what might became of so and so but at last, this is hard to imagine in a world were money and gold have no value.
Already the snow was so deep, travel could only be made on snowshoes. We hadn't seen snow like this since the 1960's. This was highly unusual as snows in the past twenty years had been relatively light. I continued to harvest game, this kept my mind occupied and away from the house for spells. This gave her some private time, giving each other space is a sure cure for cabin fever.
I was now bold enough to approach some of the neighbor's houses. We were desperately low on some supplies, perhaps I could find something of use. I would gather some "gifts" for my wife, as well for myself, that we would "open" for Christmas. I tried to make life for us as normal as possible, adapting to change is never easy. It took some looking around but I was just shocked at what had been left behind. Dry foods, coffee, sugar, salt, guns and ammo. Perhaps our neighbor, "the rummager" already had enough of these items, but why did he leave? I had assumed the family was starving and left. Why didn't the other neighbors find and utilize this? Then it came to me, since he couldn't take all that he found at once, he would cache items often coming from other homes, leaving some items in favor of carrying others as he went on. I wondered if he would be coming back for them in the spring? Even if he was back at his house, there would be no way he'd make it this far on snowshoes through the soft snow. Perhaps, he knew this and bugged out? Maybe the "pickings"were easier and more plentiful closer to the small community? I was driving myself crazy with these thoughts... Anyway, I told myself, I wouldn't worry about that until spring, and that was at least three months away.
On the way home, my mood changed dramatically, I almost felt like Santa Claus. The coffee was sure to be a hit! When I got back, I placed the backpack on the wood pile before I went inside. There she was singing holiday songs to herself, while she decorated the tree we had gotten the day before. At five o'clock, I cranked up the radio and behold, Christmas music was playing! We hadn't heard music in months! I just couldn't resist, I grabbed the backpack and handed to her. She had tears in her eyes as she took each "gift" out. Not a word about where I had gotten them, she knew. In fact, there were very few words that passed between us, as we sipped our coffee and listened to Christmas music in the candle light.