Humans are storytellers, dating back millennia. The long, dark winter nights are a perfect time for telling stories.
We want to hear yours - about a funny Christmas, a happy Hanukkah or other winter celebration; we want stories of some hilarious happening that has been passed down through your family; we want to hear about an event that changed your life, filled your heart and kept you believing in the basic goodness of people.
Just for fun, begin your story the old-fashioned way: "Once upon a time ... "
Here are a couple of examples:
Once upon a time, a few days after Christmas in Northern New Mexico, Ma' Nature dropped four feet of snow around the mountains and plains. She sent so much snow, Interstate 25 was shut down in both directions from Ratón to Santa Fe for more than a day. People were stranded in their cars, fearing the cold. Worried ranchers were unable to reach their cows. But then, as people always seem to do, but mostly during disasters, they helped each other out. Residents living near the Interstate went out in their big trucks and rescued people from their cars, inviting them into their homes until the roads could be cleared. Ranchers and other good Samaritans from Texas and other states sent hay to their fellow cattle growers in New Mexico so their cows wouldn't starve. For a little while, no one worried about politics, or who was right or wrong, they just helped each other. Until the snow melted.
Once upon a time, an athletic dad had to stop being so active after a knee surgery. Not long after, his wife, the super-efficient and organized matriarch of the family, stepped on the wrong rock while scrambling up an arroyo and fell, fracturing her ankle. She ended up in a cast, devastated because it was shortly before Christmas and there was so much to be done - preparing decorations, gifts and food for family. But the dad and mom, both incapacitated, ended up sitting next to each other on the couch, injured legs elevated, holding hands and watching as their son and daughter made a mess of the kitchen cooking, and putting up decorations wherever they felt like it (to their organized mother's dismay). The siblings were delighted that their mother could do nothing to stop them or order them about.
In the end, a very good time was had by all. (Even the super-organized mother had to admit it was the most restful holiday she ever experienced.)
Now, you try one. Limit your story to no more than 200 words. Get it to us by Dec. 14. We'll publish as many as we can on Dec. 21.
Send your stories (and photos or art to go with it) to email@example.com or mail: Editor, 226 Albright St., Taos, N.M. 87557.
Don't like to write? Create a short video, no more than one minute, telling us your story. We'll put it up on our website. Or call us and leave your story as a short voice mail at (575) 758-2241, ext. 126.
"Once upon a time ..." (Oh, yes. The snowstorm? This editorial writer was living in Pecos at the time. And the couple? The editorial writer's parents, of course.)