A SHORT STORY ABOUT THE JOYS OF CHRISTMAS ~
(originally posted December 2013)
The people were surrounding me stepping on my foot, jabbing with their elbows, bumping me into other people. I was pushing back just to maintain my balance. There was so much noise my head was pounding. A squealing sound near the ceiling of the big room made my headache worse. Long lines, crying babies, noisy talkers, so many bodies pressed against me.
Why did I ever agree to go out shopping and make myself nervous and tired? Sure, she’s my best friend and her kids are normally fun and cuddly, but right now, I wish they were sleeping in their little beds at home. I thought it would be festive if Momma, Sabrina, my husband, Matt, and I met them at the mall for Santa pictures where he sits in the big chair surrounded by magic snow and more screaming kids.
Baby Bradley pulled on my coat asking, “What is that white stuff around Santa?”
It’s magic snow, Bradley,” I said as I smiled.
He broke away from his sister’s hand and laughed as he crawled around in the white stuff now covering his Christmas suit and matching hat. Children–the innocence of Christmas.
And that’s how it all started…with magic snow!
Momma said it would be a good day to get out and enjoy the season. Really! Well, I’m worried about her as well as myself. I would feel so bad if someone pushed her down and caused a broken bone.
My teenage daughter, Sabrina, with all sorts of tubes and ear muffs on her multi-pierced ears, is not listening to a word I yell at her. Of course she’s not because she hasn’t heard anything I’ve said since she was 13 when her aunt Elizabeth bought her those earphone things. I can tell from the rolling eyes—the only way she communicates with me for the past year—she wishes this “seasonal event” was over so she could meet her friends. I’ve learned to accept that all of us, as old people, are such lame companions.
My husband said he would just wait in the car and watch the rest of some ballgame on his phone sipping his café espresso .
“Well, of course, honey, that’s fine if you want,” I grimaced at him—and he smiled as if I just made a pass at him!
So much for thinking he would carry the packages. I looked back at him as the rest of us got out slowly watching for ice patches surrounding the van. Why can’t I be the one in the car with my Grande peppermint mocha latte? When do I get my Christmas wish?
Immediately I heard the shrieks of Bradley and his older sister running up and down the sidewalk. The kids were jumping up and down and waving their chubby mitten-covered hands beckoning us to join their fun.
As we entered the mall and I saw all the people, I remembered how horrible it could be shopping on Christmas Eve. If I survive this mob, I’ve still got to stop and get replacement bulbs for the tree lights. Got to go to four more stores for gift cards, and pick up the ingredients for my famous rum pumpkin pie. Rum? Maybe two bottles I’m thinking!
It’s coming back to me now how much I hate shopping on Christmas Eve.
In fact, I am so tired that if Christmas doesn’t hurry up and get here and gone, I may just see if Santa could use a new elf for next year—I hear it’s a year-long training in a far-away place!
Splat! Ouch! Ugh!
I’ve been attacked with something akin to a baseball bat! Oh, it’s just Baby Bradley and his bottle he’s swinging like a boomerang. The screeching sound in my ear is him laughing and squeaking.
My friend said,“Bradley, honey, don’t hit anyone with that.”
No problem, my friend, it’s not anyone—it’s only me!
A short time later, I got candy cane sticky kisses and hugs from Bradley and his sister. My friend and her two little ones left us to our shopping.
Where is my daughter? You’d think I could find her with all that electrical equipment on her head but I think she’s run away and left me in this colossal mess and disorderly crowd. Surely she knows if she retreats to the car with her dad, I’ll be left alone to fend for myself and Momma. Would she do that? In a heartbeat or a drumbeat or whatever her stethoscope-like wires hear when they are stuck in her ear.
Oh, no, where’s Momma! Did someone slam her to the floor and steal her huge purse. No, they couldn’t wrench it off her shoulder the way she ties that on…and they would be weighted down with its contents. But where is she?
“Oh, I’m so sorry ma’am – I didn’t mean to bump into you and step on your foot and elbow you and the little ones,” I said.
I apologized profusely to a woman and five children strung out like a “Hands Across America” exhibit. I really had done nothing to her but it sounded nicer if I apologized to them as they continued on through the crowd forming a bulldozer-like barricade.
Momma, Sabrina, come back and help me. I’m dropping the packages and a boy has his Game of Thrones-like sword stuck in my back and he’s jabbing for all it’s worth.
I raised my voice above that of the blaring loud-speaker crying, “Come back and help me!
After what seemed like hours of abuse and stomping and noise, I realized it was quiet and dark. Oh, no, I’ve blacked out and am dying! The crowd of people are all finally gone and debris is all around me. My packages are strewn about with their contents lying hither and yon.
Oh, no! My ribs hurt as I chuckled because draped over my feet are the Santa boxers that are supposed to be a private gift for my Naughty Santa husband. My purse—where’s my purse? Ouch…that must be it I’m lying on that’s punching me in the ribs. Well, at least no one took that—one good thing. The sign which had been hanging near the checkout line was across my body. I could still read it though:
“Last Mark Down Items For Christmas Eve Shoppers”
Now I remember… I’m in the midst of the Joys of Christmas