Okay, call me a traditionalist when it comes to Christmas. There it was, the 21st of December, and I was still in a holiday funk. I had done the internet shopping thing and had found it all very efficient, but I needed the crush of the crowds to get me into spirit. I informed Jana and the kids that I was going to Farmington for the day to wind up a few things. Actually Jana's internet proficiency had already carried the day, so there was little to do. I just needed to get out into the last minute shopping frenzy to secure my Christmas mood. As I prepared to leave, I kept thinking a little nip at the spiced eggnog might get me going faster. Since I was driving, however, I elected to forgo that treat; at least for the time being.
As I drove to Farmington, Christmas carols were playing on the radio, and I could feel my spirits beginning to lift. "Santa Baby" and "Grandma Got Run over By A Reindeer" came over the airwaves and I knew it was going to be a good day. When I arrived in Farmington, the town was busy with traffic, and people were in a jolly mood. I kept hoping for some honking, shouting and finger wagging, but everyone seemed happy, and there was none to be found. As I parked the car, I heard footsteps and then, "Merry Christmas." I looked around to see a stranger with a happy smile on her face. I replied "Merry Christmas," climbed out of the Subaru and proceeded into the mall. I was beginning to think something was wrong with all these last minute shoppers.
At the toy store, the clerks were joyfully restocking shelves and quick with answers to all my questions. Once I was pointed in the right direction, they moved off humming holiday tunes. I found what I needed and proceeded to the checkout lines. There were plenty of registers open, so it didn't seem the wait would be long. As I stood in line with my packages, a woman stepped in front of me. Here is my big opportunity, I thought.
I prepared to grab the woman by the scruff of the neck and throw her to the ground, shouting, "I was here first," but decided it would be more prudent to just shoulder her out of the way. As I positioned myself to do so, she sweetly looked up at me and said, "Oh, I'm sorry, are you in line," and ducked in behind me. With a frown on my face, I explained that I was "just fixen' to shove you out of the way," and she, thinking I was joking, roared with laughter. We exchanged "Merry Christmases," and the clerk scanned my purchases and sent me on my way with yet another "Merry Christmas." By this time I was really worried, but knew I would find what I was looking for at the music store.
The music store was extremely busy, and people were beebooping to a holiday album. I fished in my pocket, pulled out my list, hailed a young woman and asked her for help finding DVDs and CDs. She smiled, located everything I requested, suggested a few new albums and went on her way. The woman at the register quickly processed me and sent me off with a smile and a "Happy Holidays." I also smiled and started to wish her Happy Holidays in return. I managed to catch myself in time, however, and just waived goodbye.
Next it was off to the lotions and potions store. My daughter, Dacia, is now 13, so I wanted to get her something mature, but not sexy. I poked around the store for a while until I was approached by a joyous woman about my age. I explained my dilemma, saying, "What should a man who doesn't understand women get his 13 year old daughter that will make her think I know what I am doing and that I appreciate how she is progressing." She responded by saying, "Don't worry about it, honey, you are just like all the rest; none of you understand us. This is just what you need." I flinched, she smirked and we both laughed out loud. I realized she was right; about men and the gift selection.
I walked out of the store and stopped in the middle of the mall. Santa was taking photographs with happy children and everybody was laughing, smiling and Merry Christmasing. I suddenly realized I had actually exactly found what I had been looking for, and was humming "Jingle Bell Rock," which was playing over the P.A. system. MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!
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