2021 License Plate Report

The license plate scene was so grim this fall that I never got around to posting an October report. October’s tally was the same as September’s and, as it turned out, November’s: zero, zero, zero. December was on course to be likewise, until . . .

(Spoiler alert!) Notice, if you will, the previously blank rectangle just south of Montana, north of Colorado, and west of the Three Chronic No-Shows. It is now green, and its name is Wyoming.

’Twas a week before Christmas — December 18, to be exact, the day after the late Rhodry Malamutt’s birthday. Around 2:30 in the afternoon I was heading into town on State Road about to hang a right on the Edgartown Road, when I spotted, just ahead of me and making the same turn, a license plate with a bucking horse on it. Only one state has a bucking horse on it, but I tailgated close enough to read it: Wyoming for sure.

As to why I happened to be there on that particular day, well, there’s a bit of a story there. For many, many years my friend Mary-Jean has hosted a holiday Nog & Song party. Thanks to Covid-19, the party didn’t happen in 2020 or 2021 — at least the Song part didn’t. The Nog part did, for which all of Mary-Jean’s friends are grateful because her eggnog is stupendous. She emailed the faithful that eggnog would be available on a drive-by, socially distanced basis, loosely by appointment: (“Hi, are you home?” “Yes.” “I’m on my way, be there in 10.”)

So that’s where I was headed when I spotted Wyoming with barely two weeks to go in 2021. Of course I didn’t touch the eggnog on the way home, but I did have some for breakfast the next two mornings.

For the record, Wyoming is one of the four states that appeared in 2021 but not in 2020. The other three are Utah, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. I spotted Alaska, Hawaii, and Nebraska in 2020 but not in 2021. The two states that didn’t show up in either year are North and South Dakota. Somehow I bet you’re not surprised by that, are you?

So the total for 2021 was 46 plates spotted and 5 AWOL at the end of the year: same as 2020 but a slightly different lineup. (Need I say, D.C. counts in this game.) If you squint at the map, you’ll notice that Wyoming is marked 45. This is because I screwed up the numbering in January and forgot to give Vermont a number. Since I was well into February by the time I realized this, no way was I about to renumber or start a whole new map. So after New Hampshire (number 9), I wrote in Vermont as 9a.

Moral(s) of story: The year’s not over till it’s over, and do not pass up an opportunity to collect some of Mary-Jean’s eggnog.

About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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