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Rudolph Driving a Convertible By Cheryl Hughes

You know, if I thought he’d be able to find them, I’d ask Santa for Clorox wipes and Bounty holiday napkins for Christmas.  I’m really missing both things this season.  Sure, I’ve made do.  I’ve poured alcohol over stacks of generic unscented wipes, but the areas I clean don’t seem as clean without my Clorox wipes.  I have found paper napkins that are Christmassy, but they’re not the same as the Bounty ones with the snowmen and bells and trees.  I’m not trying to be ungrateful, it’s just that there are little things that make the season for me, and I feel a void without them this year.

It is the same with others, I suspect.  When my granddaughter came home with me last week, she inspected the mantel over my fireplace, and said in disbelief, “You didn’t hang the ‘Rudolph driving a convertible’ stocking!”

“What ‘Rudolph driving a convertible’ stocking?” I asked.

“Gee, you hang it every year!” she said, shocked by my failure to remember, what was for her, a tradition that marked the beginning off the Christmas season.

I thought back to the parade of stockings that hung from our mantel during the holidays, and I remembered a reindeer on a stocking, I just hadn’t noticed he was driving a convertible.  

“I will find it and hang it before you come to visit again,” I said.

That was a week ago, and I still haven’t dug it out.  I say “dug it out,” because that is what I will have to do, literally.  I will have to borrow a hard hat and excavation tools and go back into the Christmas decoration area, and dig through totes and boxes of all things Christmas that were put haphazardly back where they live, after I selected the decorations I wanted to use this year.  I am not looking forward to it, nonetheless, I will do it today.

There is one other small thing I look forward to during the Christmas season that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen this year.  My Christmas cactus doesn’t have any buds forming on its leaves.  I even watered it with Miracle Grow Bloom Booster.  My friend says the cactus is adopting the attitude sweeping the nation this year, and it is staging a revolt.  If that is what’s happening, I will give my small plant its due, I will allow it the dignity of keeping its blooms to itself without my disapproval. 

There are always ways to redeem the season if we look for them.  I remember a time when a fourth-grade teacher did that for me. On a Friday, Mrs. Armstrong asked for volunteers to bring the class Christmas tree for the following Monday.  I raised my hand, because my dad worked at a sawmill and was always in the woods where cedar trees grew.  When I told my dad, he said that wouldn’t be a problem, and he would take us and the tree to school on Monday morning.  

Dad cut the tree that weekend, and I was so pleased at the thought of being able to walk into class with my dad and the tree.  Mrs. Armstrong had asked that we bring the tree in before class began that day, so we would have plenty of time to set it up and decorate it.  I told my parents about the arrangements, and they assured me we would get the tree to my classroom before school started.

On the Monday morning of the tree-taking-to-school, we over-slept.  Mom tried her best to hurry everyone, but there were six of us kids at the time, and it’s hard to herd six kids and a cedar tree in the same direction, let alone hurry them in the same direction.  We arrived at school just as the morning bell rang.

When we walked into my classroom, there was another tree standing next to the chalkboard.  The decorations and tinsel were being hung from its branches by excited fourth graders.  Someone in the class next door had brought two trees, so that teacher gave one to our class.  They had given up on me and my tree.  I looked at Mrs. Armstrong and she looked at me.  She smiled.  “Bring that tree right over here in this special place,” she directed my dad.  “This tree can be our Christmas card tree,” she said.  “I just love Christmas cards, and I have quite the collection.”

Dad set up the tree, and Mrs. Armstrong attached ribbon to one of her special cards then handed it to me to do the honors.  That teacher turned embarrassment and disappointment into joy and pride for me, and I will never forget her.

True to my word, I dug out Sabria’s Christmas stocking.  It was at the very bottom of the bottom tote.  I wouldn’t have expected it to be anywhere else.

 
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