I grew up believing that it was good to be “in the box.” As a child I played hopscotch where the object was to throw a stone and follow up by jumping through a series of boxes. My thinking was box-like — square. Times change and in order to get along in today’s world one must learn to think and act “outside the box.”
If I had my druthers I’d stay home all winter enjoying a warm fire. However, this year circumstances drew me across the ocean for the holidays. I had a lovely time with my two daughters and sons-in-law in England, met interesting folks, and learned some British customs. Highlights were hearing the Queen’s Christmas Day speech, wearing paper crowns and finding prizes in our “crackers” and playing charades on Boxing Day with folks from Scotland, France, Australia, England and, of course, America.
The trip involved four airplane rides. All went well until the last leg from Washington, D.C. to Albany where our plane was delayed for seven hours. It was New Year’s Eve, and we watched the ball drop on the terminal television set. The passengers took it in stride, wishing each other a happy New Year. Shortly thereafter, when our plane arrived, we all cheered, “We’re going to Albany.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, in her book A Gift from the Sea, wrote: “We tend not to choose the unknown which might be a shock or a disappointment or simply a little difficult to cope with. And yet it is the unknown with all its disappointments and surprises that is the most enriching.”
I won’t forget this New Year’s Eve. Although I would never have chosen the circumstances in which I found myself, we made the best of the situation and turned what might have been an unpleasant experience into an opportunity to celebrate and make some new friends.