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Thursday, December 20, 2001

Now that the shopping is over, I love Christmas again.

Oh, I might bop on over to Best Buy or Target or Copperfield's Books (or the car wash or the liquor store) and pick up another item or twelve, but anything I buy from now on will be because I want to, because I think it's a good idea. It won't be to fill a quota or just to have something to wrap. As much as I love giving, I don't much like shopping.

So I'm embracing the pile of wonderful stuff I have to wrap, and giving it my benediction. O mound of gewgaws, blessed be thy power to make someone smile.

One thing I like even less than shopping is shopping in a driving rainstorm. Because of a new crisis generated by the Boss, I couldn't get out until after noon today. That would've been good news if the storm had blown through in the morning as expected, but somewhere between Kmart and Safeway it started coming down so hard that I could barely see to drive.

If I hadn't spent so much time in Kmart, I might have got home before the cloudburst. But once I got in there, I sort of got myself in the mood for once. I had a grain of an idea of what I was looking for, but I ended up exploring every department in the store, including several where I had no business being. Automotive, for example. All that stuff is like the relics of some arcane religious sect.

It's a good thing I didn't take a shopping cart through the aisles, or I might still be there. It's too easy to pick something up and throw it in the basket. Since I could buy only what I could carry in my hands, I had to be a discerning shopper. No special gift ropes from the boating department, or Scooby-Doo rifle accessories from sporting goods.

The pile of stuff I have to wrap isn't much, but it'll do. And I'm pretty sure I have enough wrapping paper. If I'd wheeled a cart through Kmart, I would have had to get more paper, too.

I kept a smile on my face while I was waiting in the checkout line at Kmart. It took some effort, but I did it for the benefit of all the other shoppers. It's my little contribution to sharing the spirit.

The temporary clerk seemed to be having trouble, and when she wasn't having real problems, she made some up. She was so interested in what the family in front of me was buying that she talked them into a different kind of pants for their daughter, and those of us who were behind them got to wait while someone from "customer service" made the switch. She took great care in deciding which bag to put each item into.

It was nice to see someone care that much, and the fact that the guy behind me was stewing and fretting over it only made it easier (and more fun) for me to enjoy the little scene at the register. When I finally made it to the front of the line and the clerk thanked me for my patience, I gave her a cheery "no problem," which didn't make the fellow behind me any happier. Too bad for him. Merry Christmas, buddy, I'm done shopping. Feel the love.

oak and sky

The oak tree, against a gray December sky, earlier this week.

Once upon a time, when my nephews were much younger, I spent a lot of time, energy and emotional stress making sure the gifts I gave them were equally distributed, in both quantity and quality. But mostly quantity. When there are two, you have to have an even number of packages. I still give equal thought to the two of them, now that they're grown, but they don't even get the most presents from me any more. I don't think they realize this, which is just as well.

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Latest recommendation:

Melissa, Planning A Sky, December 16, Ornament

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Limping Home

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