I’m Such a Softie
Like a ooey, gooey marshmallow fresh from roasting over the fire and ready to place on top of a graham cracker already covered with chocolate squares… Yeah, I’m that kind of softie.
Several years ago, my heart went zing.
I love to go to flea markets and hunt for bargains, especially when it comes to Christmas items. One time, as I was headed out the last aisle almost ready to exit. I saw a woman ahead of me take an object out of a ragtag box. I paused. I recognized what she held and clasped my hands in prayer mode and went, “Put it back. Put it back.” She lifted it, examined front and back.
She put it back. Whew!
I tried not to run to the booth because part of flea market buying is not to appear over anxious so we can get the item for an even better price. When I reached the table, I looked at what was there first to appear like I was shopping in a nonchalant fashion. Then, I bent down and saw the box. There my little friend lay on top. Again, I kept my cool and picked up the box. I set aside one, two, three items like I was considering purchasing them. Lastly, I removed the one I really desired–a Styrofoam angel with glittery silver wings, curly white hair, and sequin eyes and mouth.
My heart melted. The reason I wanted her is because my mom has this angel and puts it on the top of her tree every year. Our long-time, next door neighbor had made her. And I’ve always loved the ornament.
This girl was missing one wing-shaped eye, but I didn’t care. To me, she looked perfect. I asked how much and the lady said, “Oh, fifty cents.” My heart went whee! I paid and brought her to her new home.
I can’t bear to pack her away after Christmas. Instead, she sits on my bookcase with a few other jewels to greet me every day. And I still get all ooey gooey soft inside.
Do you have an ooey gooey heart over something special?
A do-gooder joins forces with a reformed delinquent turned lawyer to run a Christmas tree stand benefiting the children’s hospital. When the money goes missing, fingers are pointed.
“I don’t believe it.” Hands on hips, I stood in front of the large, white tent. No happy shoppers bustled in and out. No All I Want For Christmas is You blasting from a boom box. No holiday cheer at all.
Instead, I found under the same ol’ AXEL’S CHRISTMAS TREES neon sign, which wasn’t flashing, a notice, which looked to be hastily printed and stuck on the tent flap with gray duct tape: Closed. Heart attack. And as an afterthought: Pray.
I shook my head, saying to the nippy wind whipping my hair, “Poor Axel. This is horrible. Where will the funds for the Sommerville Hospital come from?”
My stomach kinked into a hard knot as I hugged my tote to my waist. I’d been buying my Christmas tree here since…forever. Definitely since I was a blossoming idea in my parents’ mind. Mom and Dad brought my brother and me to Axel’s the first Saturday in December every year for the family tree. Who could forget the ensuing arguments over the perfect one—Mom usually won—and the joy of trimming it.
All grown up, I continued the tradition. Axel had the most beautiful trees. The stand benefited the hospital; this year, the children’s cancer wing where his grandson had undergone treatment for leukemia. He always-always-always stashed aside a seven-foot Fraser fir for me. Nothing spelled Christmas better than a fresh, North Carolina Fraser fir.
Now what do I do? Where do I go? Should I call Axel’s son and see if he needs anything?
Like some of her characters, Vicki has worked a wide variety of jobs including lifeguard, ride attendant at an amusement park; a hardware store, department store, book store, antique store clerk; administrative assistant in an international real estate firm; and a general “do anything gal” at a financial services firm. The list is…endless.
Born in Dallas, a graduate of Texas Tech, she is married to Handsome, has two big boys, an attention-demanding cat, and two adorable poopies.
She has completed three manuscripts, written essays, and sold many short stories. She is a member of RWA, and the DARA, Elements, and RWA-WF chapters. In 2004, she joined DARA and has served in many capacities, including 2009 President. DARA awarded her the Robin Teer Memorial Service Award in 2010.
Most days begin with her hands set to the keyboard and thinking “What if??”
Thanks so much for joining me today, Vicki.