Merry (almost) Christmas, everyone! We are scurrying around here at the Ametewee household trying to get everything packed up for a 2 1/2 week trip to visit my family in Ohio and despite the rushed feeling (we are leaving at midnight to drive through the night), the feeling of Christmas is alive and well here. We've got the tree shining, Christmas carols blaring from my ipod (ok, so Kanye's Christmas in Harlem can hardly be called a carol, but it's got Christmas in the name at least.) and I'm hyping myself and him up by reminding Londerpants every couple minutes that we are headed to Grandma's TODAY. Let's just say if there were a way to test us to see who's more excited it would be a very tough call.
SOO...what does this trip mean for Cartwheels? Let me tell you. :) First of all, I have been hinting around for weeks now about those big changes that are coming to Cartwheels right? Well, that's one of the biggest reasons for the visit. My mom and at least one sister-in-law will be helping me get lots of art ready for the shop, and I'll be working on the new design at the same time, so to say this is a working vacation is putting it mildly. :) But hopefully it will be well worth it and you will be as excited as I am once you see the fruits of all this hard labor. But over the next week we will be for the most part be taking a break from posting on the main site to allow more time to get the new shop up and going sooner.
But in the meantime, and in the spirit of Christmas, I thought I'd share this little Christmas story I posted on my own blog a few years back when I was single and in art school and still living in Ohio. Because it still rings true to me...
so i was walking into the fort wayne hobby lobby the other day, stressed out about buying the perfect gift for my grandma, dreading the long lanes at the checkout, not wanting to face the cold, thinking about how bad my back hurt and how i had to walk to the far ends of the earth once i got into the store to get the gift i was thinking of giving her, basically facing the entire ordeal as a huge burden and wishing i could be home reading a good book, when i suddenly heard singing...
he was singing the first noel. and then jiggle bells. and then oh beautiful star of bethlehem. and i stopped what i was doing for a minute and just watched him. the man was a huge black man, probably about 35 years old, standing all bundled up ringing the salvation army bell and singing for all he was worth. every person that walked up to him was greeting with a cheerful "MERRY CHRISTMAS!! isn't this the best time of year? God bless you!"
it was then that i decided i wasn't in so much of a hurry. i stood for a long time by the side of my car watching him make person after person smile. i didn't notice the bitter chill in the air anymore, my heart was warmed at the sight of this man bringing the joy of christmas back into the lives of rushed, distraught shoppers, just like me. and as i watched, i began to notice something...there was not one person that walked by that man without putting some money in his bucket. not one. he was getting to the point that he had to shake the bucket to try to make room for more money. i saw him walk into the store and empty it twice from the time i got there to when i left the store.
one obviously wealthy, obviously unhappy man asked him rudely if he got paid enough to stand out in the bitter cold and ring a bell and beg for money in a way that just annoyed people. his response? "i'm not doing this for money...i'm doing it to help others. i look forward to this all year!! i love reminding others about what christmas is all about." and then he went back to singing. and as i watched, the man who had asked the question's expression began to change. the frown lines smoothed out and he had a thoughtful look on his face. and then he pulled a wad of bills out of his pocket and stuffed them into the bucket and turned away with a smile to replace the annoyed frown that had been firmly planted before he spoke to the man singing christmas carols at the top of his lungs.
but what really got to me was when three mentally handicap adults, probably ranging from about 25 to 35, walked up with their caretaker to do a little christmas shopping. the man instantly called out to them and when they got up close to him, asked them to sing jiggle bells with him. it's been a long long time since i have seen smiles that bright. he handed each one of them a bell and the 4 of them stood there ringing those bells and singing for all they were worth in the sweestest off-key version of that christmas song i have ever heard.
at that point i decided to go inside. but not without first stopping to talk to the man for a minute. but the thing was, i could barely even get out the words MERRY CHRISTMAS because of the giant sized lump in my throat. i could barely make out his features because of the tears streaming down my face. but i did smile at him. and i thanked him for not being afraid to share what christmas is all about. and then i spent the rest of the day walking around with a huge smile on my face...
I LOVE CHRISTMAS-TIME. and i especially love that there are people brave enough to stand up and remind others what christmas is truly meant to be about. :)
MERRY CHRISTMAS, MY FRIENDS! AND THANKS FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT YOU HAVE ALL SHARED OVER THE PAST HALF YEAR SINCE OUR VIRTUAL DOORS HAVE OPENED. EVERY CLICK, EVERY COMMENT, EVERY REFERRAL HAS MEANT THE WORLD TO ME. I COULDN'T HAVE DONE ANY OF THIS WITHOUT ALL OF YOU.
P.S. I'll see you in the new year! :)