As many of you know, these past few weeks have been met with deep and dark anxiety. In these times where I’ve locked myself away, I’ve spent these nights in deep thought and reflection. Some thoughts have been focused on the why’s. Why has my life turned so radically in the direction it has? While others have turned in reflection to my favorite memories.
As we get closer to the holiday, a holiday that comes to mind as being THE perfect image , I’m brought back to a time of a favorite Christmas. She had just been laid off from work, after working for nearly 10 years. She was working various temporary assignments and it was an assignment at the bank that would land her a second job ‘moonlighting’ at the department store in the Cashier/Customer Service department.
She was working one night a week with an additional one or both weekend days. As it got closer to the holiday, the demand for her time would increase; she didn’t mind however, they could use the extra money. As the holiday got closer, she decided to make the gifts they would be giving the family and enjoyed every detail.
She and her husband decided to make a bet with each other (a game) to see who could buy the most for the other on a $20.00 budget. The rules were that the gifts had to be somewhat useful (couldn’t all be candy) and they had to be wrapped by Christmas-eve.
What fun they had, getting the tree, decorating it and the house, and of course the teasing each other with their bet. The plan was that they would need to spend the holiday home as she would need to be at the store on the 26th. This would be the first year they weren’t going to be with either family on the 24th. In the past, they would normally spend the evenings with either his family or her’s; but this year, along with the loss of the job, would be the loss of their ‘family time’.
There was something else brewing in this young couples misfortune, that being that she was barren. They didn’t know this for sure and it would be a couple of months before they would find out; but deep down it hung over them like a fog. Perhaps this was all the more reason he felt he needed to do all he needed to in order to make this as special a Christmas as possible for his bride.
December 24th, every shopper is out in the hopes to get that last minute gift. Some are finishing up, while others have only just begun. “Excuse me, can you tell me where…?” Would be many of the questions of the evening, along with; “I’d like to purchase some gift certificates please.” She flurried and scurried to help as many customers as possible. Tonight was to be an early night as the store closed at 7:00 p.m.
6:30, the first of many sales associates started to come to close out. She began to take their cash drawers to the back to close out their drawers. Ah…7:30 at last! “Let’s close up!” Mrs Eckland said. Mrs. Eckland was the Supervisor who had been working in this particular department for over 15 years and was quite good at what she did. She was also extremely kind and always rewarded hard work.
They closed up, and all started walking out of the store; turning off each escalator as they passed. Then on out the back. “Good night and have a wonderful Christmas everyone!” She said as she got into her Honda Civic. As she started the car, she wasn’t really feeling overly happy or sad about the evening. She was remembering a time in her youth, a time when she worked as a Gift Wrapper. What a wonderful time that was. She had so looked forward to the holiday. It seemed so funny that her enthusiasm had waned a bit over the years. She wasn’t that old (all of 28 years), but still, the years had passed and quite fast.
She drove around to look at the lights, not too long as she knew he was waiting for her (just a little side trip on the way). Then she drove into the driveway. ‘Oh, he has the door lights on; that’s wonderful… thanks honey’, she thought; she loves the sparkle of the white lights in the greenery. As she opened the door, what a wonder? Christmas music was playing, all the lights (Christmas lights) were lit in the house, the tree was lit and the fireplace was a blaze. In front of the fire place, next to the Christmas tree, the round coffee table was set with their best china and crystal; AND candles! In the middle was a fondue pot that held the home made a Swiss Fondue he made from a recipe in one of his cooking magazines along with a bottle of champagne chilled and on ice.
He came out of the kitchen, with the biggest smile on his face (as if he had just won the lottery), “Merry Christmas, Sweetie! I made the fondue from a recipe I found. I know it’s not the same as family…” Her eyes welled with tears as this was the most beautiful evening she’d ever had.
There were a great many Christmas’ since that day with my then husband of 20 years. We have gone our separate ways, however we still spend some Christmas’ together. He has been a part of this family for over twenty years and will always be, in my book, a great part of my life. But that night, that Christmas, will always be considered my favorite. We didn’t have a dime really. All we had was each other. But most important, it was the connection, the time spent that I will always treasure. And that fondue was damn good as well…
I continue to make memories; I mean isn’t that what we do? We live, we make our mark and hopefully we leave here giving a smile to those left behind who think of us. I still don’t have a clue what is to become of me in 2012, but I am having a great time for the rest of 2011. Come to think of it; I think I’m gonna have some of that fondue…