Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Spike "Scrooge" Gillespie Mistaken for Santa's Helper!

Okay, this is too rich. So, thanks to the generosity of too many people to name here, I was able to round up a good bit of support for the family that recently lost their young husband/father. The young widow now has four kids to care for on her own and her mortgage is in arrears and she owes the funeral home a small fortune. But members of the Office of Good Deeds, and my neighbors, and some others kicked in cash and HEB gift cards and gifts and toiletries and... it was all overwhelming in a great way.

Then I got an email from Toy Joy-- I'd asked if they might help a bit despite the nightmarish retail scene right now and the fact that they no doubt get hit up regularly for donations. A manager reviewed my request and they donated an awesome fake tree (much like the one I bought at their Fake Tree Lot only mine is smaller than the donated tree and also mine is black-- of course it is.) They also donated a bunch of toys for the kids. I headed over to TJ and loaded up the car. I'd been driving around for a couple of days, unable to reach my friend who is a direct friend of the family in need so she could get the goods from me and deliver them.

Unsure what to do, I decided I would just have to drive over there and drop the stuff off myself. I had the family's address but not their phone number. Now, I am a complete stranger to these folks. And they are dealing with the aftershock of a very intense trauma. I'm not fond of knocking-without-advance-warning even under good circumstances. So my trip over there, the closer I got, the more I worried. What if they freak out? What if they think I pity them? (I don't pity them-- I just want to help because lots of people helped me so often over the years.) What if, what if, what if?

Then I think, Screw it, just quit worrying and knock. So I knock. Someone asks who's there. I say it's me, friend of their friend. A tiny woman opens the door and I sputter out who I am and why I'm there and that I have a tree and some toys and an envelope with some checks written to the mortgage company and an HEB card. And-- oh thank you thank you-- the woman lights up and thanks me and is receptive to all this.

She sends a young man out to carry the tree in and I follow him with the bag of toys. He gestures me inside, which I'm tentative about. It's not my intent to invade their private space, just drop and run. But I do as I'm told and step inside and there are several little kids and they're just looking at me like Who the heck is that?

Then one of them moves closer and says, Are you Santa's helper?

To which I respond with a laugh-- more like a shocked choking noise disguised as a laugh. Me? Santa's helper? Did y'all not get the memo on Spike's Feelings About Christmas?

Apparently not. My choke-laugh instantly melts into a desire to burst out crying. I'm as hyper sensitive and wired and anxiety prone this time of the year as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, as the saying goes. So I beat a hasty retreat. But not before the mom gives me a hug and one of the little kids shouts out, Bye Elf!!

After that, it was all a blur but I think I might have accidentally let slip a Merry Christmas!


Garreth said...

The sad part (if you and your black tree are looking for a sad part) is that people associate giving with a man in a red suit at the end of the year. But it's okay to give all year round people!

mcoker said...

Aww, what a cute story :-)