Christmas 1982. All of my brothers and sister were home, Mike was back in Oregon visiting during Iowa States winter break, and Craig’s girlfriend, Julie, was over. Being young and restless we decided we need an adventure. It was decided we would drive up in to the hills to the snow. So the six of us pilled in a jeep Wagoner, and took off at around 4:30 or so in the evening…just going to be gone a little while we told mom and dad.
We cruised along up into the hills trying to find “good” snow, snowman building kind of snow. It was getting dark so we decided we needed to head back home. Then the headlights went out and a few seconds later the engine died. Great.
We decided to try to do a rolling start. To do that we needed to get out and push the Wagoner up the hill. When we got it to the brink of the hill my brother Craig set the parking brake and we all jumped in. Craig released the parking brake and away we went…nothing, the engine wouldn’t start. We coasted down the hill and part way up the next. We all decided we should just keep pushing up hill and ridding downhill, that way covering some distance before we pooped out. By now it was dark and Craig needed to see. He and my brother Todd found a flashlight and decided Todd would hold the flash light out the front passenger side window and shine its beam on the road so Craig could see. So my sister Emily, me, Mike, Todd and Julie got behind the jeep and pushed, Craig pushed and steered at the driver’s side door until , again we reached the brink of the hill. Down we went again only this time, Todd was hanging out the front passenger side window with the flashlight…one candle power, but better than nothing I guess. Todd had to duck a couple of times as tree branches threatened to smack him in the face. I think we repeated this maneuver two more times, until we came to a hill that was just too steep for us. So we set the brake, locked the doors and started walking.
As we walked along a coyote yipped in the distance. Someone sharply drew in their breath, someone else said, yips, so my brother Craig started telling stories. He pretended he was a news anchor interviewing the survivors of a great ordeal. “Yes we only had one soda cracker between the six of us; we peed on each other for warmth.” We thought this was hysterical, everyone added their “facts” to our fantastic survival story. Soon the story ran its course and we walked along in silence. One of us noticed how the trees made a dark silhouette against the sky. The stars were very bright that night and Mike pointed out the different constellations. At the top of a hill there was a break in the tress we could see the hills before us, folding in on themselves, stretching into the night.
After some time we came to a house all lit up with Christmas lights. We decided a mob of us appearing on their doorstep, might be unsettling to the home owner. So we stood under the yard light as Mike and Craig went up to the front door to ask if we could use the phone. Craig turned back to us and yelled to come on. The kitchen was warm after being out in the cold. As we waited for my dad to come pick us up the lady of the house, concerned that we were too cold, made us all Hot chocolate. We held the warm mugs in our hands, steam rising up in our faces. It was the best hot chocolate I ever had.
Following is my Granny’s hot chocolate mix. Put it in canning jars and attach directions…makes great gifts.
Hot chocolate Mix (yields 15 cups of 45 servings)
10 cups dry milk powder
4 ¾ cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ¾ cup powdered non dairy creamer.
Mix all ingredients. Store in an air tight container.
For serving, 1/3 cup mix in a mug add ¾ cup boiling water