Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Line

Along with Dave, Sally, and  and my amazing niece, Meagan, I'm spending several days with Ben, Dave and Sally's son, and his awesome wife, Courtney, in Emond, Oklahoma. (Equal time requires me to also inform you that Ben is Meagan's brother and Courtney her sister-in-law.) This morning was a first for me. We went to a smallish nearby mall so Courtney and Ben's children (Jenson; 2 1/2 and Bo, 9 months) could see Santa and take the requisite pictures. Being December 24th, a number of the mall shops were closed. In fact, I estimate there were twice as many people in the St. Nick line than there were customers in the mall. (I did a walk around.) I sat down and watched the procession. As Ben moved up in line close enough to talk to me as I relaxed in my easy chair, I asked him, "How much do you think Santa makes an hour?" Without a beat, the guy ahead of Ben replied, "Not enough." All I could do was laugh and amen the unknown wise man.

I guess I waited in that chair for an hour or so, even dozing for ten minutes. Every child that circled by me was adorned in red to varying degrees. The kids were all excited, if slightly confused by the extravaganza. Jenson apparently thought she was about to receive her presents so I'm assuming Courtney explained the scenario before we arrived. But my lasting impression of the morning is of the adults. Americans hate waiting in line- myself included- and this was the slowest line I've ever seen with the exception of the VISA line at Houston's Chinese Consulate. And yet, I witnessed zero frustration. The grownups were patient and incredibly cordial with each other and with the children of the next in line. No one pushed or scowled or groused. A group of strangers, equally divided between the genders, comprised of a wide variety of ethnic groups and nationalities, acted for an hour like a loving family. My belief is this makeshift congregation of celebrants which will never assemble again, were benevolent to each other and tremendously patient for only one reason- their children were involved. Too bad we don't act like that the rest of the year. The Scriptures teach that our Heavenly Father is astoundingly patient with us. I think it's because His children are involved. Merry Christmas tonight to all my family, biological and otherwise, especially to all those in the Santa Claus line.

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