I find it hard to fathom my depth of Christmas Spirit. There are times I groan at the first sight of a Christmas tree and wish it would come a bit later. This year is an abbreviated Christmas because my oldest daughter and family can’t join us because of her new job, and my youngest daughter and family are headed to Mexico for Christmas to visit her husband’s family. But, I was delighted to see the first Christmas Tree on the back of this truck. I’m not anywhere near prepared. Maybe I’m anxious to have a dose of cheer in my life.
Christmas Cheer arrived with Pam Munn, and old friend that once lived in nearby Mountain Ranch. Our husbands were in the Sheriff’s Department together. What I like about Pam is she embraces life fully. She sold her house after her husband died and wanders from adventure to adventure. Living on an Island, house sitting, enjoying birds, pursuing her painting, dating and enjoying new friends and old friends wherever she goes. She loves birds, as I do, and we talked about the whooping crane of my childhood, and her emotional witness to an eagle mourning its missing partner. It’s been about 15 years since I’ve seen Pam. We solved the mysteries of friendship and remembrance over a three-hour lunch.
I’m at an age where I don’t shop for Christmas, my husband’s idea in the 80’s. We have everything we need and we can’t make anyone’s dreams come true with a $20, or $50, trinket. But, we can make dreams come true with a $20, or $50 donation to charity. Christmas shopping, once the kids outgrew toys, was a chore for me anyway. In fact, I have a great story of my very last shopping Christmas. I didn’t know it was going to be my last shopping Christmas, but here goes.
It was Christmas eve and I still lacked two adult men’s gifts, hard to shop for, and I’m in Stockton at a Penny’s store, tired and wishing I was somewhere else. The lights, the music, all beautiful. The store packed. I’m standing in this humungous long line, when I hear two women behind me say: “Hey, let’s go up to fabrics, no one will be buying sewing stuff this late in the season. They whirled around and I followed, thinking what a good idea.
We get to fabrics which has been converted to a station for purchases from anywhere in the store and all three of us groaned. The line was just as bad and now we had to start at the end. But, we laughed, and chatted a little. By the time we got close to the register, one of the women said, well, at least they have two workers, a clerk and a bagger at this station. When it came my turn, I commented aloud, well, at least this station has a bagger to help the line go faster and she looked at me and said, “Oh, I don’t work here, I just decided to help and I can’t seem to get away!”
I was stunned. So, I announced loudly to those in line behind me, and got everyone to give a hip-hip-hooray for the Christmas Elf. And we all went home with smiles on our faces. It was an incident that changed my attitude and filled me with Christmas Spirit.