Monday, December 5, 2011

The clearance aisle of my mind

Texas cried the day my Grandfather died. So deep was the mourning of the state, that the temperatures barely climbed above freezing. In the cemetery where he was laid to rest, the state's tears froze, creating a layer of ice that covered the ground making it difficult for those digging his grave. It was as if the state was trying one last measure to prevent him from being laid to rest.

I don't know why I feel like writing that, but I do. It has been floating around in my brain lately and I just feel I need to get it out. It happens sometimes. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, thoughts slip into my head, hang out for a bit, then head out for someone else. Often times they take a friend with them.

And then sometimes they hang out until I use them. The above is an example.

On Saturday my wife and I took the boys Christmas shopping. Our trip was supposed to be a one stop endeavor - hit K-Mart and go home - but Aydin decided to make it more difficult.

We split the kids up, I took Aydin and Sheree had Vincent. Not wanting to cause "He saw what I am getting him" issues, Aydin and I wander around the store looking at different things. Good thing too, I was able to find a polar fleece to wear at work for a reasonable price - my office is very cold and I often times need a light jacket.

Finally Aydin and I make our way over to the toys. We stop along the way with me asking if he wants to get his brother various things.

"What do you think bud, think Vincent would like a new broom, vacuum, dish soap, etc?"

No matter what I ask, he always answers with a cock of his head and a "Huh?"

We arrive at the rather bleak toy selection and begin looking. Now it was time to be serious.

"Do you want to buy Vincent a Barbie?"

I don't even get a response. Just a look that tells me I had stepped a little too far and he isn't playing along anymore. After all, buying a gift for his brother is serious business.

"Dad," he says as we walk around searching the two aisles, "When you have a brother as awesome as Vincent, you have to find him a gift just as awesome."

How can I argue that?

Our search for awesomeness comes up short and we decide we would have to look elsewhere.

As we begin walking away he sees the clearance aisle and makes a move towards it. I oblige him his indulgence.

As I walk behind him, watching him search desperately for the right gift, I come face-to-face with a Santa Clause. Seeing it makes me realize I need to replace the tree topper this year, so I chose one - an Old World Kris Kringle that looks like he just stepped out of the woods with a bag full of wooden toys. All along the shelf are statues and tree toppers of the Holiday elf and I can't help but smile.

There is something magical about Santa Claus. No, I don't mean the grumpy one that sits at the mall waiting for some little kid to relieve themselves on his lap, instead I mean the whole spirit of Santa.

To me Santa is about memories. Memories of Ben (my older brother) and I trying desperately to stay up late to catch him, of the excitement so great in our bodies we were unable to sleep; waking up early Christmas morn to a warm house with an excited family; The Statler Brothers playing on my dad's record player; Mom humming about the day munching on some treat that Dad made and insisted she try; Shaun, Dom and Kara hidden away in their rooms enjoying the presents they just received; my cousins singing Happy Birthday to Jesus; my children's first Christmas; my first Christmas with my wife; and all the wonderful feelings that Christmas can bring about.

In less than two seconds I think about these things. I smile, turn and walk away.

Aydin finally finds his most awesome gift at another store. For me I found something a little better - I found the Christmas spirit tucked away in the clearance aisle of my mind.