Sleigh for hire (formerly appeared on the blog One Good Paragraph)

You mean to tell me that in all of New England and upstate New York, no one has come up with this? It’s a cinch for extra holiday money. I mean, someone’s gotta know where there’s an old sleigh back of some barn, where they throw the mash from the cider press. Neglected, dusty, the black leather facing ripped from along the knee guards by that nasty Cosgrove kid, you know the one whose sister Teddy married after they broke up, what, seven times? Then the rain, the snow, the heat… Anyway, it’s about on the edge of too far gone, this sleigh. But in town, there’s gotta be a guy. You know, the one who comes into the bar, orders one dark beer, sniffs the head up into his mustache, talks to himself awhile, sings “Annie Laurie” and goes home..anyway, he’s a whiz at restoring things. Give it to him, yeah, give it to old Ned there, let him work on it starting July. He can bitch all summer about how he hasn’t got the time, the materials, it’ll never be ready by the time the snow flies…snow comin’ early, this year, y’know, and I don’t need no dang Farmer’s Almanac to tell me that, sonny. But he’ll have it ready, and he’ll wear the suit and drive the thing, and never charge for the kids, and palm five out of the till for an extra beer. And Ned knows the guy at the riding stable outside of town, the one with the old plow horse….$10 each for adults, $7 for the kids (some of ’em, anyway), dashing through the snow, stars above, bobtail nag…jingle, man. And hot cocoa, and hugs, and smile after mile after smile. — Adam Barr

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