Yay!! My faith in the Christmas Spirit has been RENEWED!! Yes, Christine...there is a Santa Claus, and he shops at the Hannaford grocery store. It is a wonderful thing to see the bright light of goodness and common decency shining at the end of the tunnel...especially when this time of year usually leaves me frustrated, and slightly anxious. Do I love Christmas?? You know I do! But I have to admit...the closer it gets to that special day, the more I want to stay inside and away from crowds, crazy traffic, and impatient people. I don't move fast enough to keep up with it all, even in my car...and it seems as if people are always rushing around me because they are in such a HURRY!! And unless you're on your way to buy me a present (I love to read, I'll watch anything with Johnny Depp in it, and I wear a size 6,) I wish you'd all just SLOW DOWN!! So during this time of great impatience, I had to share this story of something that recently happened, which showed me there are still people out there who have the Spirit!
It all started on Tuesday, as I struggled to get the last minute items on my list without getting flattened by the other harried shoppers. Or should I say, I struggled with the whole DAY! You know those days when everything goes wrong from the start? Well, I think God was trying to tell me something when no matter where I stood or which way I brushed, the wind blew the snow from my car directly into my face. I should have just gone back inside, but I pushed forward...after all, my Christmas shopping list was burning a hole in my pocket and I had to fill it! After cleaning off my car, as I was finally pulling out of my parking spot, I noticed that I needed to fill up my gas tank. SHOOT!!!!!! (Okay...not exactly the word I yelled, but this is a family blog, people!) So I pulled my coat tighter around my neck, and headed to the gas station.
Now, I mentioned before that I have hand issues. I have lost muscle, can't grip things well and often have numbness...and when my hands get cold, these issues increase ten fold. So pumping gas isn't an easy task on the warmest of days. On freezing cold days, it's virtually impossible! I tend to use my debit card to avoid walking into the store, which in the summer is mostly laziness on my part...in the season of snow and ice, however, parking lots become mazes of slips and falls. On this particular day which was only 13 degrees, I pulled off my gloves (to try and improve my grip,) and attempted to feed my tiny, little debit card into the machine's slot using both hands. And do you know what happened? Can you see it coming?? A lovely gust of icy wind BLEW my card right out of my hands, and carried it away. SSSSHHHHOOOOOOOOOT!!!!! (Again, not the EXACT word I used, but I'm doing my best to keep this PG rated!) As I attempted to catch up to my card which was blowing further and further away from me, I dropped my gloves in the snow and almost got run over by car. But did I give up?? No, SIR! I was determined that I would complete my holiday errands!
Finally I got the card, found my gloves, and was on my way. One of the many things on my list took me to Hannaford, a local grocery store for my readers outside of NY. I had cut out coupons for bags of chocolate candy, to fill these cute snowmen containers I had gotten at the dollar store...I planned on giving them to my co-workers at the office. It isn't a rule that we need to get each other presents, but I like to give everyone a little something for the holidays. So with coupons in hand I scoured the candy isle, finally picking out five different bags. After my savings my bill came to about $10.00, not counting the other items I needed to purchase. Finally I was done! I got back to my car as quickly as possible, and since this was my last errand I made my way home. Once inside I didn't even put my things away, but instead got right into my pajamas, turned up the heat and crawled under a blanket. It wasn't until a few hours later that I finally decided I should empty my shopping bags...and guess what I discovered?? The bag filled with candy? GONE. After my momentary panic, I figured I must have left it in the car...oh well! It wouldn't be hurt out there...the candy would just get cold. So I got back under my blanket and decided I would bring the bag inside the next morning before going to work.
Now, remember the day I had...snow in my face, my debit card blowing away and almost getting run over at the gas station--can you see the pattern? Does anyone reading this really believe the bag was in the car? Well, you guessed right! It wasn't...and I realized in my rush to get back home, I must have left the candy sitting in the shopping cart. I was really disappointed! If I had left my bag of bananas in there, I wouldn't have minded so much...but I had clipped coupons! Bought containers! I had PLANNED!! Alas, I gave up those plans and drove to the office, knowing that I couldn't really afford to replace all the candy I had lost. I figured anyone who found that bag would consider themselves lucky, and hoped at least that the person who had it could use it for presents of their own. Later that day as I was relaying my tale of woe to K, the office manager, she suggested I call Hannaford. "Who knows? Someone may have turned it in," she said, and I realized I had nothing to lose. I gave them a quick call, bracing myself for more disappointment (since I figured no one would have turned in a free bag of candy,) and I am lucky I listened to her advice. Someone had actually turned the candy in...and all my holiday plans had not gone to waste!
It's a small miracle, I know...had I never gotten my candy back, the world would not have ended. Even if I had decided to purchase new candy (without coupons,) it would not break the bank. Though finding out that someone had turned it in helped me to realize something...all the impatience and craziness this time of year does not mean the Christmas spirit is dead. It's still out there, and a simple act of kindness proves it! I'm happy to say that I feel a little less anxious, I was able to pass out all my snowmen containers filled with chocolate as planned, and I'm looking forward to this holiday just a little more than I was last week. And thanks again, K, for prompting me to make that call...it paid off, and I must say--when you got your container of treats, you did a great job of acting surprised! Happy Holidays, everyone!