"It's so-o-o-o cold I can't seem to think about anything but a nice warm corner in the barn, out of the wind, with a big ray of warm sunlight! And maybe a fresh bucket of oats," said Ginny while she was watching Desi and Equinox in the pasture.
It was the first snow of winter and it was covering the ground quickly. Even the cold and snow didn't seem to phase the younger generation as they pranced around, shaking their heads as if they were trying to keep the falling flakes from tickling their noses.
Beau and Ole joined Ginny, and as you might expect, they began to reminisce about the good old days.
"I was just about Desi's age when I pulled my first sleigh. It was in the middle of winter, though and the snow was quite deep. Actually, it was way up north in Sweden and there was no other way to get around," said Ole. "We had been warned that a blizzard was on the way and that meant that we had to hurry and get some last minute supplies at the closest town. We probably would be unable to get through the roads for some time and Christmas was right around the corner. The snow was swirling around so much that it was tough to see just where you were going," said Ole, getting a far-away look in his eyes.
"Sleighs were very important then. Doctors relied on them to get to visit their sick patients, families used them to go to school and church too. People took very good care of sleighs, painting them bright colors and making sure that the runners were always in good condition. Some were made to carry only two people, others could carry a number of people at a time using several bench-like seats," Ole explained.
"So, you had to pull the sleigh and get provisions. Not as much fun as when I pulled a sleigh," bragged Beau. "It was a beautiful winter night and the family had decided to hold an 'old fashioned tree-trimming party' to get into the holiday spirit."
"That sounds like a really good time. Tell us about the whole evening, Beau," said Molly.
"Actually, the family first took the sleigh and went out to cut down a fir tree. They finally found the perfect tree and loaded it on the sled, and took it back to the house. There the rest of the family was preparing food and getting ornaments ready for hanging on the tree. The children were attaching the bells to the sleigh and getting ready to round up the neighbors for the party. They went from house to house, bells jingling and singing carols as they went to pick up the guests."
"That must have been the type of party that
inspired the song that goes 'Over the river and through the woods
to grandmother's house we go, the horse knows the way to carry the
sleigh through white and drifted snow," sang Ginny, while Molly
brayed and Beau and Ole neighed in agreement.
Of course that brought Desi and Equinox to attention quickly and they pranced into the circle to find out why the others seemed to be having so much fun. They were always so curious and anxious for a good time.
"What's up?" asked Desi while Equinox echoed the question.
"We were just remembering how important sleighs were when we were your age. It was sometimes the only way to get around in the winter," explained Molly.
"You hardly see sleighs around here anymore," said Ginny.
Equinox said, "I guess the biggest thing is Santa Claus' sleigh, and he uses reindeer," he nickered.
"Yeah, and the leader is a reindeer with a red nose!" Desi snorted.
"Why don't you play a game and see if you can fly like reindeer?" suggested Beau, teasingly.
"Sing all the songs that mention sleighs and jingle bells," added Ginny, "and start pretending that you are going to be the team to pull the sleigh!" Ginny loved to watch them romp and play. And off they went, leaping about, wondering if reindeer really could fly.
"My, they have a lot of energy!" exclaimed Molly, and almost simultaneously, the group of elders commented, "We need to get them a sleigh!"
Molly says, if you are fortunate enough to be living in an area where you might be going on a sleigh ride, don't forget that it's cold outside. You need to wear warm clothing and be sure to wear boots to keep your feet warm. You will need hats and gloves too. A blanket to cover your legs would be an extra way to make sure you keep warm. You'll have a great time listening to the bells, and a good way to finish the ride will be to have a cup of hot chocolate or tea or some other warming beverage when you finish your ride.
Explore your area. There are still a lot of places
offering good old fashioned "horse powered" sleigh rides.
The internet and yellow pages are good places to start, and if you
can't find sleigh rides close to you, enjoy the music of the season,
close your eyes and dream
someday your dream may come true!