Holiday Tradition (click to hear an audio preview of this post)
I knew better.
But I had a cup of coffee that I didn’t want to leave in the car. And this was my traditional trek to Wal-Mart to work the Christmas magic that only I can in finding semi-useful, yet unique, items for stockings.
Despite my better judgment, I grabbed the cart closest to the door. I was already inside and totally committed when I noticed a loud bump-bump-bump from the cart. I made a quick stop, determined which wheel was the offender, and then pushed forward holding the rear end of the cart skyward.
I was pleased that the irritating racket was gone . . . until I noticed the high pitch squeal now coming from the front wheels of the cart. Thinking that this sound would only bother canines and rodents, I went on. After all, it wouldn’t do to allow such a mundane annoyance to ruin this special, almost communal, moment.
After hitting the tool aisle and wandering through the electronics section, I was still stymied on one particular stocking stuffer. I headed to automotive and, being quite exhausted by this time and a little disoriented from the supersonic vibrations piercing my ear drums, I let the rear wheels hit the tile again.
“What does it matter?” I thought. “All of these carts do this.”
However, on this day, mine was the only one that did. Soccer moms, old men, and Wal-Mart associates all stopped piously to let me pass. Unfortunately, the little boy straining behind the weight of his mother’s cart didn’t notice. Startled by the clogged aisles and frightened by the sound emanating from my commercial sleigh, he veered sharply to the right.
The resulting impact and the scattering of batteries quickly drew the attention of the gathering masses. The Energizer Bunny appeared as if by magic at every one’s feet.
I used the moment to ditch my cart. Grabbing my merchandise, I headed for the check-out stand. Minutes later, I was back in my car, still minus one stocking stuffer.
My coffee was back on the cart. My mission wasn’t complete. I felt frustration pushing to the surface.
And then from my radio . . .
“Silent night, Holy night. All is calm, all is bright.”
Life, even in the holidays, brings frustration and disappointment and even grief. Yet, we have hope of a better time and the comfort of friends and family. Holiday traditions still minister to us – even when a clean-up on Aisle 43 is necessary.