When my kids were younger and we lived closer to my husband’s family, we used to spend Thanksgiving week with his Mom. My sister-in-law always walked in on Thanksgiving day carrying our Christmas presents beautifully wrapped and ready for us to take back with us.
More amazing, I was always genuinely surprised when she produced these lovely packages so early. What would Thanksgiving be if I didn’t slap my forehead and say, “Wow! I wish I had thought of that!”?
One year, I decided to break with tradition and be aware that Christmas follows Thanksgiving. I shopped before we left, but needed one more gift when we arrived. My niece was two at the time and though I already had a “Curious George” book for her, I wanted to get her a cute little outfit as well.
It was Thanksgiving Day when I went on the hunt. Okay, smarty-pants, I know you’re thinking that nothing is open on Thanksgiving, but I had seen an ad for one lonely little store, which was having a big sale.
Their entire clothing department consisted of four round racks and a pile on a table. I was pleasantly surprised to see that what they had was nice. The catch was that men’s, women’s and children’s clothes were mixed in together. I dove in, determined to find that perfect something. Circling the third rack, I just about dropped my armload of “maybes” when a pair of toddler pajama bottoms appeared, bearing the words, “Curious George’.
“Couldn’t be the right size”, I thought to myself. I grasped the tag on the waistband and read, “3T”. Bingo! It was too perfect. But where was the top?
The double hanger had empty arms where the top should have been. I checked the floor. No luck. I flipped through the rest of the rack. No toddler jammies at all.
I stepped back and surveyed the situation. No special displays with Curious George items. No other wearable anythings. This was it. Four racks and a table. It had to be here. I was goin’ in.
I dumped everything I’d been carrying into a cart, rolled up my sleeves and started at the beginning, checking every hanger and between every garment.
A customer asked me where she could find kitchen towels. “Sorry”, I told her, “I don’t work here.”
A couple rushed by, discussing the sale on Christmas trees. When they doubled back, they asked if I knew where they were. “Sorry,” I said, as I attacked the jumble of clothes on the table, organizing as I went along.
After an hour, I was aware of what was going on around me in the store.
“Christmas trees?” a man asked. “Aisle C,” I answered. “And don’t forget your rebate!” “Returns?” a woman inquired. “Customer service, register one,” I told her.
I never found the top. I settled for a white sweatshirt to go with the Curious George bottoms. I managed to have all my gifts ready AND I was named employee of the month!