A hotdog once affirmed my faith in a benevolent universe.
Living with a houseful of apartment-mates offers two options for quarantine diversion: reclusive bedroom hobbies or stepping out into nature. The second pick is readily available to any intrepid soul on a cold Montana day such as this one.
Having already invested large amounts of time in hobby-ish pursuits, my daughter and her co-quarantining roomate opted for a midday hike. Surely this would break the monotony of their cloister until test results were conclusive in one way or the other. The bracing air would enliven lethargy, and spirits would lift.
Even so, the possibility of a hike didn’t seem that enticing – they had done that several times already – yet it was the only choice, save the dwindling amusement they could muster in their boxy confine.
So, out it was.
They hiked on – the crunch and fluff of layered snow underfoot metrinomed their progress through the long silences of their thoughts.
“Hey – wait! What is that?” the lead one stopped, pointing across barren whiteness.
The other lifted her head from her footing to look up.
“Ummmm, (squinting) – I have no idea what that is…..”
“Well, it’s coming this way.”
“Yeah – I see it! But what is it?”
Side by side, in ensuing quietness, they watched.
A beige-ish oblong parcel of considerable size was bumping and dancing its way across the void, reducing the measure between it and them with every rush of wind.
They stood their tracks, mezmerized.
Frigid blasts continued to buffet the bulbous billow, bouncing it erratically off icy sheen. It was a roiling tumble of tan, rust, and yellow, coming at them – full tilt.
By now, their brains were busy trying to label to the frenetic object, but the obvious tag derived from visual cues was instantly rejected as being ridiculous given their location and circumstance.
It wasn’t wrong!
The wayward object was confirmed to be exactly what it appeared to be as it careened past them in one mighty gust.
“IT’S A HOT DOG!” shouted the two in unison, immediately taking off after it, their real or imagined infirmities sloughed off in that instant.
Lunging forward in nearly knee-deep, the duo set to chase, pressing after the rollicking inflatable, desperate not to loose this spectacular gift.
A fervent last-ditch-dive by one of them neatly landed the great American meal to rest under their heaving bodies, draped and gasping across beef and bun – complete with condiments.
Did they hoist the sizeable sausage overhead in triumphant portage?
Did they take turns pulling each other on its heft, skittering across snowy expanse in joyful tow?
I’m not sure.
But resoundingly freed of boredom, theirs was a triumphant return home to be sure.
And though the quarantine continued, it was of a different flavor after Frankie blew into their lives. He was the willing subject of jokes, puns, countless retellings, journal entires of the most unusual sort, TikTok videos, and still remains the best downhill launch on a snowy embankment with friends.
If ever you’re in doubt whether the universe delivers to those in need, think of the remarkable appearance of Frankie the Frozen Frankfurter, who saved two good friends from despair and boredom of the most mundane sort.
And don’t merely believe that your prayers will be answered – dare to relish the thought of it.