Monday, December 21, 2009

Two Cents Worth

We tackle the world with ornaments strung over fingers. Our purpose began with handing out just one ornament a day. But days were skipped, so we decided to hand them out a few at a time.

Giving to people you do not know is easy. We write a check or make donations. There is joy in this giving and good things happen to people in need. Some serve at soup kitchens and meals on wheels. Giving is good, even better when done face to face.

The girls were a bit tentative on our first outing armed with ornaments. The first ornament went to a little girl about Gabby’s age. “Merry Christmas,” she said handing the gift to the girl. The little girl lit up like a Christmas tree and said, “Mom, she gave this to me.” The girls beamed profusely thanking Gabby. We were off to a good start.

Syd and Heather decided to go off alone at Powell’s while Gabby and I held hands for moral support as we searched out recipients. An older woman thanked Gabby telling her she would hang it with her granddaughter. The other girls returned confused because a woman insisted on giving them each a penny. They tried to explain to her that the ornament was free and tried to return the pennies, but the woman insisted. I told them that she needed to give them a gift in return.

On our second outing, Gabby handed her ornament to a white haired woman standing by the books with a younger woman. By now, Gabby was a pro. “Season’s Greetings from our family,” she bravely said. The woman’s eyes sparkled as she leaned down to take the ornament. She spoke with a heavy accent. “I am going to my home in Germany and will take this ornament with me. I will tell everyone that it came from a little girl in a bookstore in America.” Well, darn, I was choked up. The woman went on to tell us that her daughter’s name was Gabrielle.

We stopped for dinner, Syd handed the man behind the counter an ornament. He stood there speechless as she walked away. He followed us, “I will put this on the tree with my little girl and tell her that it was given to me by a little girl.”

It is a good thing we do in this giving. It is not just the giving to strangers but also in the giving to one another. We search for the perfect gift, one saying “I love you and care”. We sit with anticipation as paper and ribbon come off the gift. It is a good thing.

One woman brushed Syd off when she approached her. It was a lesson. Not everyone finds it easy to accept gifts. Not everyone believes that something can come without a price tag. Two pennies were a lesson in giving. Even the cold shoulder opened new dialogue and a stronger need to give gifts of goodwill. Many of those receiving ornaments asked what we were doing and said they would do the same with their families next year.

Three little girls and an aging grandma are handing out joy. Joy for the receiver as well as the giver.

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