Mavis Fodness

Feb. 29

What did you do on this year's extra day?

Leap Day rolls around every four years, and I was excited about this year’s Feb. 29.

Similar to daylight saving time, when we push our clocks back an hour in the fall, I see the 2020 Leap Day as a 24-hour bonus because it occurred on a weekend.

What would I do with a whole extra day? Not only that, but a day where temperatures were predicted to reach 50 degrees, an outdoor warmth we hadn’t experienced since Nov. 25.

In my excitement I reached out on social media to friends and family, asking what they planned to do on Leap Day.

Thirty-one of you responded, listing a plethora of activities. I noticed a theme with the suggestions: they all involved family.

And as I look back, my day also included family.

I had lunch with my husband, Bryan, and my daughter, Lyndsey, worked outside cleaning up the barn for Charlie the Horse (the gelding thinks he is family) and ended the day participating in an event with a new “family” that recently adopted me.

Last summer I met members of the Pipestone Motorcycle Club.

They planned a trip to the Schell’s Brewery in New Ulm, and I rode behind my husband, Bryan, on the 244-mile round trip.

It was my first motorcycle ride that lasted more than 15 minutes and I was admittedly nervous. But I understand why people get hooked on the two-wheeler experience.

There is nothing like the rumble of 15 Harley Davidson motorcycles, the open air and the feeling of freedom the vehicles afford riders — and in my case, a passenger.

The club members accepted this horse-riding newbie into their group, and on Saturday my new “family” organized a fundraiser for a member who is fighting cancer.

The outpour of kindness on Leap Day means he will not have to worry about household expenses and he can focus on himself.

My heart swelled with pride at what this group accomplished and that I could have a small part in supporting a fellow family member.

Saturday also had Ryan Tofteland’s family embracing one another.

As readers recall, I did a story with Ryan about his ALS diagnosis in 2018. He succumbed to the disease on Friday.

His wife, Martha, shared the news via Caring Bridge over a series of days.

In her Leap Day entry titled “Heaven is a Beautiful Place,” she writes, “For us, today is about quiet, enjoying family, and reflecting on what is and isn’t. It is about finding some joy in a time also full of sorrow.”

Leap Day 2020 will be memorable for different reasons, but I’m glad I decided to get out of my comfort zone and enjoy what life has to offer.

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