Last week, my focus was on a craft fair day. Before, during and after the craft fair - when my tired old self recovered. Bending over a table from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. will separate the men, er..women from the ... oh, never mind. This cliche is useless to women. You can separate the men from the boys, but the women just have to cluster and maintain, I guess.
Observation: Too much Christmas is the stores already. This comes as no surprise to you, I'm sure and I say that because most of you have eyes (I say most to give me an out if my ocular speculation is really off base; if you don't have eyes, we're still good). You've been in stores and seen the crazy merch out in all it's glory. Even the grocery store is decked out. Did I miss the Thanksgiving nod? Personally, I like to celebrate Thanksgiving first and then think about Christmas. How crazy is that?
While gathering the last bit of supplies, I saw the one Christmas tradition that I deplore - yet empathize with completely. I'm talking about the traditional Christmas shopper's kid tantrums. Don't get me wrong, I love kids. Dragging them through the stores at a time of year when everything says "Santa's coming!" and "what fun!" will actually cause the kids to think "Yippee! Christmas is here!"
The thing about it is, Christmas is not here yet. They don't understand that. Incredibly, you are the Mom or Dad, and you are buying something that screams presents and Christmas - but it's not for them right now. What kind of bizarro world is this? Every shelf is geared up for the holiday and every parent is at the mercy of merchandising. Double that holiday shopper-stress when you're pushing a buggy full of kids.
In the craft store, I watched two poor little tykes as they cried and cried for candy canes while Mom explained they were for the tree, then they cried for the Snowman from Frozen toy. As the buggy rolled down the aisles, they found more things to cry about. I think it might have been about three hours past nap time and four hours past their prime.
Later, at my table at the craft show, I realized that a lot of my own items weren't really kid friendly. They're very small charms for lockets and bracelets. I tried to engage little people in conversation while the adults shopped. Apparently, I'm not as interesting as bits of metal and enamel. Parent after parent stood next to their kids and repeated that all-time favorite mantra: "Don't touch that...no, I said don't touch that...put that down...you don't have to touch everything..."
It was a futile gesture. They're kiddos.
Because I had shiny jewelry items in the mix, each time they would leave the table I would get out a soft cloth and wipe away the finger prints. One little lady, who I shall call Deirdre (because her name wasn't Deirdre), came back four or five times to rearrange the entire table for me. How nice.
Near the end of the day, I started to get my stuff together; I was looking forward to the end. It had been a long day. While rearranging the boxes and supplies under my table, I heard a little voice say, "Ma'am?"
A young blonde haired boy, about eleven years old, stood at the table. Must have been native, he was wearing a bright orange UT shirt (go, Vols). He questioned me what an item - it was a box of charms for some floating lockets I had for sale and he didn't know what they were but they looked like something a girl would like. Guys don't know this stuff, at any age. I explained how the lockets opened and how you could put any charm in that you like. He looked so serious as he questioned me, and finally he said, "I'm shopping for my grandma. That is really pretty but I don't think I can afford that. What else do you have that doesn't cost so much?"
"What's your 'grandma' budget?" I asked.
He pulled some bills out of his pocket and counted out fifteen dollars. There was something about this sweet, well-mannered boy shopping for his grandma that just melted my heart.
"I'm sure you can get anything you want from my table for fifteen dollars," I informed him.
The item he was looking at was a floating locket marked $25. I picked it up and asked if that was the one he wanted, and he said yes - but it was too expensive. To stress the point, I repeated: "YOU can get anything you want for $15..."
His face lit up and I could tell that he was so excited. For the next 15-20 minutes, he and I had the best time putting charms in the lockets and holding them up to the light to see what looked best. Sorting through crystals, I told him which colors represented the birth months and we added a bit of bling and he agreed that a bit of glitz made it look "fancy". We picked out the best chain and debated gold versus silver while he told me how his grandmother liked to dress up for church and wear jewelry.
I was prepared to just give him the items, but in the meantime, his mom walked over to see his progress. She scanned the prices and started to inform him that he didn't have enough money, but I gave her the mom-to-mom telepathic message that it was okay (actually, it was just a nod and a wink). Then he held out his $15 proudly and she gave me the mom-to-mom eye that said I had to take it. He turned to her and said, "I did it! I found something really nice!"
That made my day.