A Little Story About Some Heavy Chains



“Wow! This box is heavy!” asserted my wife as she lugged in a box dropped on our porch by UPS. Immediately, I knew what it was, and that she was right. You see, a box of chains (not of the jewelry variety) is usually heavy.

Our annual family ski trip is right on the horizon. Before our four sons left the nest, a ski trip every year or two was often a very significant financial undertaking for our family, but, as my wife and I had hoped, it was great time together and an investment we’re very glad we made.

In my opinion, not much is more beautiful than snow, more fun than skiing, and more of a hoot than laughing as we rehearse in front of a fireplace in a warm cabin true tales of the time when Uncle [any of four names will do] made a really bad decision involving “catching air” and moguls, or PawPaw (what was he thinking!?) took a little jump off a ski lift (it wasn’t that high, really, but he won’t do it again). No worries. We don’t laugh at anything truly life-threatening.

One of the added benefits of family ski trips is that the only way to get down the hill is to ride up it first. That usually means sitting on a chair lift. That usually means sitting with somebody else. That usually means somebody you love. And that usually means talking. It’s good time, the favorite time of the year for lots of us, including a passel of sweet little snow-swishing bunnies and cool-looking pint-sized downhill racers.

“We” have grown. The trip now involves a fleet of vehicles, a cabin the size of a small hotel, and enough equipment for the U. S. Olympic Ski Team.

Back to the box. Yes, chains. Snow chains. “You’ll need chains,” the fine folks we’ve rented the cabin from have said. Several times. And I believe them.

Last year was almost my last year. Halfway up the hill to the “that year’s” cabin, I figured out that our minivan was only going halfway up. When it stopped, I opened the door and very carefully and very unwisely got out to survey the situation. That’s when the van started moving again. A slow (way too fast) slide downward.

Then a quick decision. Jump away? Jump back in? Quick computation. Quick answer: My carcass wouldn’t pass gently under that door. On that ice, a jump wouldn’t be away; it would be down and under. Thankfully, I made good on my one chance to jump back in. Stupidly slammed my foot on the brake (which, of course, did no good at all), but rode in, and not beneath, the van to an eventual stop.

After the hearts of participant and spectators got started again, and after frozen and bloodied fingers (mine) got a rotten pair of chains put on, the rest of the trip was, for me, mostly fun and uneventful.

So . . . new snow chains.

Just before my son and I practiced, on a dry driveway, putting them on my vehicle, my little grandson put them on himself. He rattled around the living room looking and sounding like a miniature Marley’s ghost.

Come to think of it, there’s a right time to rattle around with chains on if you’re headed up a steep, icy hill. But the best way to make the journey through life itself is with faith in the One whose sacrifice removes chains of the heaviest sort once and for all.


     You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!



Copyright 2017 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

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