Photo by S&B Vonlanthen on Unsplash

My grandmother used to tell us about one cold winter’s night when they gathered with friends for a neighborhood party. It might have been New Year’s Eve. All the young families bundled up their babies, harnessed their horses, and drove across the hills in sleighs.

I’m sure bells jingled.

They probably pulled taffy and made snow ice cream. I know the adults played cards while the babies slept, and everyone ate until they couldn’t eat anymore. Sometime before daylight, the men gathered up coats, hats, and overalls to fetch their horses from the barn and get ready for the journey home.

They braced for an icy blast of wind as they opened the front door. But, the world had changed. The holiday sleighs that had arrived on top of heavy snow now sat mired in mud. Warm air had swept in during the night and melted winter away. Everyone stood around and wondered what to do. Nothing. They could do absolutely nothing about the situation. So, they went back inside. They found corners to huddle in or chairs to stretch across, and everyone fell asleep.

In the morning, the ladies pulled together food for breakfast. Then, the men hitched horses to the host’s wagon and started down the road. They stopped at every farm and picked up wheels to replace the runners on each man’s sleigh. It must have taken all day to find the equipment and switch everything out. Grandma never told that part of the story.

She only talked about the fun they had all evening. And the shock when they discovered the predicament. She explained the solution that required everyone working together. And she told how they laughed about it for years afterward.

2021 has seemed a bit like a sleigh ride bogged down in mud sometimes. Here’s to 2022. To solutions, selective memory, and to friends. Most of all, to friends. The kind who will help us swap out our runners for a set of wheels when life gets melty.

Happy New Year