Monday, December 08, 2008

Christmas Stories
Every parent of my generation has faced the same dilemma at Christmas time; your kid wants the toy that everyone else wants. Usually that means the stores sell out of it quickly and it becomes the hunt for Red October to find one. You start calling Toys R Us on a daily basis inquiring when the next shipment truck is due. Or you resort to the "black market" when someone with two of the items is willing to part with one for an inflated price. I am glad the boys are not kids anymore and those days are over. The items 20 year old men want are easier to find, just harder to afford.

There was one year our oldest wanted a He Man Power Sword. It was a plastic sword replica of the one He Man wielded in animated glory on his favorite cartoon show. It was impossible to find. I think I called every toy store in the Valley who called every store in their network chain and no one seemed to have the He Man Power Sword. There was the almost daily check to see if a shipment had come in. Nothing. Time was running out and we were trying to come up with alternatives and a Plan B.

At the same time we were participating in the Angel Tree program at a local store. By taking a list hung on the Angel tree, you could fill the Christmas wishes of some family less fortunate. We picked a list at random. The single mother of this family wanted toiletries and hygiene items. Sandi and I both thought realized that the idea of gifts and necessities merge on a certain level.

As Christmas drew very near we were filling the mother's necessity list at a drug store in the area. The shelves were empty for one of the specific items. We asked a stock boy if there was more in the back. He left and returned quickly with what we needed. He was a young guy and happier in his job than most this time of year. We thanked him and he said, "Is there anything else you need?". Jokingly I said, "Only a HeMan Power Sword." And we were on our way to check out. As we got to the counter the boy approached us. He was holding a HeMan Power sword. "This is the last one, I remember seeing it in the back. I don't know why it didn't get put out on the floor."

I would never have gone to that store to find the He Man Sword. We weren't looking for it at that store. We would never have been Christmas shopping at that store except looking for what a single mother needed. The two events became one. It was never more obvious that the gift you give comes back to you. I hope this time of year is filled with miracles for you too.
As you were,

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