Spirit of the Season


This is a bit of a long story which I broke up into two parts.  You can read one or both.  For your convenience, I made a break point between the two parts

I did the black Friday shopping thing.  This is probably my fourth year doing that.  I always thought it was for serious shoppers.  Then I discovered all the good deals on things like sheets and towels.  Before black Friday our towels were more than fifteen years old.  They were small thin and white and I am ashamed to say pilfered from the local Y by our sons.  Sheets?  Well any sheets we had were the cheap kind that developed little balls or nice one’s I bought from my sister’s rummage sale.

Once I discovered black Friday I replaced all of our skinny white towels with colorful, big, fluffy luxurious towels that I got for 3 bucks a piece.  And now we have soft smooth 400 thread count sheets that fit the bed without using little clips.

I started my own private tradition of going through the ads on Thursday, comparing prices and making a list.  Last year my 14-year-old granddaughter stayed over after our Thanksgiving meal so we could go through the ads and ads and shop together.

While going through the ads I kept saying, “What I don’t need is towels.”  I repeated it a couple of times.  After much more paper shuffling and discussion about what turned us on I said, “Hey, Em, Do you remember what I don’t need.”

“Towels,” she shot back.

“That’s right,” I said smiling and we both laughed.  Towels were always such a big deal for me not ever having any decent ones and not willing to spend up to $15 on a towel.  Now, I had them oozing out of my closet.  Mentioning that I didn’t need towels was a thrill for me.  Anyway, It was a great experience shopping with my granddaughter.  We each had our list and branched out when we hit the store texting each other about where we were and what we were doing.

Emily: where r u  (Emily uses the texting short hand)

Me: I am in purses. Where are you?  (I text in complete sentences with punctuation.)

Now is your opportunity to take a brief intermission.

This year, however, I went alone.   The alarm went off  at midnight, which was a Hawaiian song that I have in the CD alarm clock for relaxation purposes.  I got out of bed, even put on a bit of make up, grabbed my list and left Mike snoring away.

My first stop was Kohl’s department store.  The items on my list for this store were a few gift items.  The parking lot was full and shopping was in full swing when I arrived.  I walked around to the different departments gathering my treasures and then got in one of the two long lines where the estimated wait time was 45 min.  Resigned to my fate I got in line.

Two young couples maybe in their late 20’s early 30’s from India got in the line behind me.  They were speaking to each other mostly in English.  I thought that was polite because when people who are from another country and know English but decide to speak in their native language when in public in close proximity to other people, I sometimes get the paranoid thought that they could be making derogatory comments about me or other people and we solely English-speaking people would be clueless.  So, I could eaves drop I on them and was amused about their conversations.  They discussed the silliness of the lines.  They pointed to the snaking line and commented on how long it was.  A friend of theirs, at least I am assuming he was a friend, he could have been a relative came up to them pushing a cart.  There was nothing in the cart.  They joked about him standing in line with nothing to buy.  The guy with the cart said, “I should get a handkerchief and stand in line for just the handkerchief.”  Everyone laughed and so did I.  A couple of times I made eye contact with some of them and we all smiled at each other.

The things I were holding were getting heavy.  I saw this shopping bag that someone discarded.  I set down one of my big items sort of marking my spot so people didn’t think I was leaving and rushed out of line to grab the bag and came back.  I was putting my stuff in the bag and one of the men who was wearing a red shirt picked up the item I put on the floor and helped me.  I smiled and thanked him.

As we were slowly inching our way along we went past all the displays of black Friday deals like dog beds and blankets and gift set and toys.  While I was in line I kept on shopping, not that I wanted anything else but you know the stuff was there, I was there, what’s a girl to do. I saw something that made me light up with delight.  It was the an mp3 player boom box with big buttons for little kids hands that I wanted to get for our youngest grandchild that I couldn’t locate in the store.  Gavin at age one loves music and when ever he hears it wherever he is he stops and jiggles like he’s dancing.  I snatched it up remarking for all to hear that I was looking for that.  The women in front of me said I was lucky to be in that line.  She was right about me being lucky for being in that line for more than one reason.

Now my bag is getting heavy.  I had to take off my coat because I was hot.  I had my huge big purse.  I was juggling these things around when the man with the red shirt from the group behind me said, “I can hold that for you.”  He wasn’t carrying anything.

I met his gaze with a quizzical grin and said, ‘No, that’s ok.  I can do it.”

“Really, it is no bother.  I can hold it for you.”

I laughed and said, “It’s all right.”

“No, I will.”  And he just sort of took the bag from me.  He smiled a very warm smile and I smiled back in amazement.

“Thank you.” I said.  Yes, I have to admit I did feel uncomfortable.  But I took it in the spirit in which he offered and was appreciative of his gesture of good will.

We really didn’t have much longer to wait at this point.  We just passed a sign that said, “Ten minute wait from this point.”  As we coming up to the cashiers I blurted out like a little kid a Christmas, “I can see the checkers.”  When I was ready to be directed to my cashier I turned to the man in the red shirt and said I could take the bag now I was going to check out.  I smiled and thank him again.

Now see, you hear all these black Friday horror stories about people being rude and even violence and here is a story that although small is entirely contradictory.  I am honored and pleased that I was able to be a part of such awesome display of warmhearted humanity.

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4 thoughts on “Spirit of the Season

  1. THAT is the spirit! You don’t see much of it anymore. Sounds like you had a good time shopping…where else did you go? and what time did you get home?

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  2. How fun, Janice. Sounds like people are out there practicing small acts of kindness. (Tonight on the news a man was passing out $100 dollar bills. That’s pretty generous!) I’m remembering, also, not to be so grumpy and smile more. Thanks for sharing your story.

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