This is a tale of four winter tires.
Once upon a time, a family in Canada ordered four winter tires for a little silver car with a bra (to read the story of the car bra, see this December's edition of Reader's Digest, page 215, or click here).
The first tire, third tire, and fourth tire were brothers. They had lived happily in Hodgkins, Illinois, until the call up occurred. Eager to make a difference in the world, all three tires volunteered to be shipped out to the family in need, up in arctic, frigid Calgary. They signed up to go on the second of December, and began their journey north the next day. It wasn't long before disaster struck. Despite the best efforts of the brothers to stay together, brother number four never made it to the first pit stop... or possibly missed check in or something. Tires number one and three spent the whole morning in Minneapolis, Minnesota, looking for their brother, but they did not find him. Dejectedly, the resumed their journey north to Winnipeg, Manitoba, one brother short.
It was during their four day recuperation period in a UPS facility in Winnipeg that they joyously discovered that their brother was not lost, after all, but had only been sleeping in a corner of the truck, unnoticed. Now strengthened in their resolve to continue forth, the three tires boarded a truck, cried "Westward ho!" and excitedly began the final leg of their journey.
Together they arrived in Calgary on December the ninth. Huddled together for warmth in the biting cold, they waited outside the garage door of their new family. Slightly concerned that the delivery man had not signaled their arrival nor formally introduced them to the family, the four tires began to wonder whether they were truly wanted. After several hours, the family learned of their arrival and happily came out to meet them. Much to the disappointment of the three winter tires, the people scratched their heads and did not appear to be grateful for the sacrifice of the three tires.
"But, but, didn't you want us?" said the tires to the family.
"Oh, but indeed we do," replied the family, "and we are very glad that you're here. It's just that we need four tires, and you are but three. Do you not have a fourth brother? Has someone carried him off?"
The brothers had not thought of this. They replied that they had no brother and referenced the family to the organization they had volunteered with. It was five days later, on December the fourteenth, that there was a knock on the door. The three tires excitedly met their new companion for the first time. As they ushered him into the warmth of the family's garage, they begged him to tell his story.
"Well, you see," said the new tire, "I have long desired to make my mark on the world and help a harrowed family in need, but the opportunity never came up, because these families always need four tires, and I have no siblings."
The three tires looked at him sympathetically. "No siblings?" they said, "But where are you from?"
"Maumee, Ohio," the new brother said. "You can't imagine how excited I was when I was told that a family had been found for me. I left Maumee on the third of December for Windsor, Ontario. For four days I anxiously waited there, dreaming of my new family and my fellow winter tires. On the seventh of December, I was given clearance to continue on to Concord, Ontario. There I spent the night before beginning the road west. And now I am here, with you."
The brothers happily accepted him and it was not long before the winter tires had all fulfilled their lives' purpose.
Meanwhile, the family members continued to scratch their heads and wonder why four tires would travel three different routes to get to them.
"A joke is a very serious thing." Winston Churchill