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Sunday, September 24, 2023
Sept. 24, 2023

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Everybody Has a Story: Lost and found at holiday search event


Our recent snow reminded me of the time my parents took me and my two younger brothers to the Yule Log Hunt. This is an annual event held in Palmer Lake, Colo., close enough for a day trip from our home in Colorado Springs.

The Yule log is a big evergreen log selected and hidden ahead of time and decorated with a little red flag, if I recall correctly, and some Christmas ribbon to identify it. On the day of the hunt, everyone gathers at a starting line and when the signal is given, all rush out to try to find it. The lucky person who finds it rides on the log as the other hunters pull them back to the gathering place, where everyone celebrates with cider and cookies.

On this day, I think I was about 9 years old and I wanted to hunt the Yule log too. My brothers were too little, but Mom and Dad said I could participate. What were they thinking? I’m sure they thought I would follow the others, mostly young adults, and it would just be a fun activity.

However, when the signal was given, I quickly found myself falling behind as the big folks rushed off in a few main directions. In my 9-year-old mind, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it was hidden in a different direction, and a little kid like me found it?”

So, I turned and set out in a different direction, through untrampled snow. The snow was pretty deep for me. Although I was dressed warmly, I began to get cold and my mittens got a wet inside. I was determined and continued searching until I was thoroughly lost and there was no one else in sight.

I began to get scared and I wanted to cry but that wasn’t going to help. My hands were hurting from the cold and I was tired. It was also getting close to sunset.

I chose a direction I hoped would lead me back to civilization and walked until, miracle of miracles, I came out on a road. It was snow-packed, but clearly vehicles had been traveling on it. I waited there since I had no idea in which direction to head. After some time, a truck came along and stopped. It was a young couple, and they asked if I needed help.

Yes! I explained my predicament and they kindly put me in the cab between them, let me warm my hands over the heater and drove me back to the event parking lot where my anxious parents were waiting with my brothers. They thanked the couple and gave me some warm cider to drink.

We all went home and I was very happy to have been found. That was our only trip to find the Yule log that I can recall. I was grateful then, but now realize how lucky I truly was to be found by good people and to find the road in the first place. I am still an optimist.

Everybody Has a Story welcomes nonfiction contributions, 1,000 words maximum, and relevant photographs. Send to: neighbors@columbian.com or P.O. Box 180, Vancouver WA, 98666. Call “Everybody Has an Editor” Scott Hewitt, 360-735-4525, with questions.