“Many hands make light work,” my mother-in-law used to say.
And so it is. Try to do something by yourself, and the seemingly routine tasks can sometimes be quite difficult. But get someone to help, and suddenly the job gets done quickly.
Before Christmas when it came time to begin decorating, I was struggling with the huge tree that we bought. With my wife at work, I was trying to get the hefty tree through the doorway, onto its stand and up to its erect position. It was hard, but somehow I managed to get the tree up with its top scraping the ceiling.
With just that one small part of decorating done, I was already worn out. I had wanted to get the tree up before my wife got home as a surprise start to the Christmas rush. At that point, however, the idea of putting on lights and decorations before she got home was one that I was quickly putting on a back burner of my mind. Then one of my daughters came by.
She said we could do it together and even offered her husband’s help.
Within an hour, we had the lights on, the decorations in place and the tree back into the corner where it would dwell for the remainder of the season.
What a difference a few extra hands made.
That was true last Saturday when my wife and I went to the Aiken County Historical Museum to help undecorate the trees that had been sprucing up Banksia during the holiday season.
Sissy Brodie had called earlier in the week to ask my wife if she could lend a hand and perhaps find a couple of others to help with the job.
It entailed taking down a number of decorated trees, boxing the ornaments and artificial trees and cleaning things up in general to make way for the start of a new year at the museum.
We were told it would probably take most of the morning, perhaps a bit longer, and could we please be there at 9 a.m.?
We were prompt in our arrival and expected to have a good bit of work ahead of us. When we opened the doors to the entrance, we were greeted by Sissy who said that several people had already come.
Given our assignment to take down a tree in the hallway, we went to work and were soon joined by a few others who had come in to help.
By 9:15 a.m., the museum was abuzz with teams all over the main floor, taking down trees, removing decorations and filling and toting boxes upstairs to store them in attic until next Christmas.
The job that we were told to expect to take three hours or more was done in an hour. After making sure that everything was taken care of, my wife and I walked out of Banksia at 10:15 a.m.
Many hands make light work.
As we begin this new year, perhaps those five words are some that we should use as a starting point for our endeavors.
Rather than trying to tackle things all by ourselves, perhaps we should make a point to reach out to others to accomplish things both great and small.
Back in my Navy days, our squadron chaplain liked to say, “It’s hard by the yard, but a cinch by the inch.”
He was referring to time on a deployment that our ship was getting ready to take.
If we thought about a six-month cruise as one amount, the time away from family, friends and home would seem huge. But if we considered it by taking one day at a time, the cruise would go by more easily.
In 2013 perhaps we can all make our work easier if we ask for a hand and willingly lend a hand when we are asked.
Jeff Wallace is the retired editor of the Aiken Standard.