Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas Shopping on the Square

Wish we still had stores with storefronts like this. I loved Christmas shopping around the square in my hometown. Didn't look just like this, but the feeling was the same. 

One Christmas Eve when I was around eight years old, my stepdad, Bull, got a wild hair and drove my sister and me to the square to shop. 

"Silver Bells" emanated from outdoor speakers, shiny tinsel was strung across the street, and an evergreen wreath decorated each and every lamp post. All these years later, I can't remember for certain, but if it wasn't snowing, it should have been. 

We'd made it halfway around the square, stopping to admire the flocked window decor in The Model Shop, and a chugging choo choo train in the variety store, when Bull ran into a couple of his old buddies and stopped to swap some lies.

After a few moments and a couple of sips from a silver flask, he seemed to remember we were there. Without missing a beat, he pulled out his wallet and gave the two of us a hundred dollar bill (or maybe it was a twenty and it only seemed like a hundred at the time) and instructed us to go into the nearest business to find a gift for Mom. 

The funny thing was, the nearest store just happened to be a furniture showroom, the only one on the square. But that didn't deter us in the least. After scouring the entire establishment, we happened upon the perfect gift, a three-foot tall, mustard-colored vase decorated with a fierce-looking red and green Chinese dragon. We thought it the most beautiful thing we'd ever seen -- so exotic

When the clerk trundled it to the sidewalk for us, Bull just grinned and went back for the car. Together the three of us wrestled it into the trunk so we could surprise Mom on Christmas morning. 

And surprise her we did. Her grin was almost as wide as Bull's had been. She hugged us and caressed the dragon and swore it was the best gift she'd ever received. Then she displayed it proudly in the darkest corner of the living room for many years to come. 


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