Debbie and I, along with three other family members, made a trip to Ankeny on Sunday for some last minute Christmas shopping.
Our first stop was Sam’s Club for supplies, pet food and some holiday treats. As Debbie and I arrived at the back of the store, a large robotic floor cleaning machine made its way past us into the toilet paper section.
We watched as several times the large floor machine would stop to re-adjust, blocking customers in the process, and then would keep on going. We said hello to one family and chuckled as they were briefly stuck between the paper towel section and the robotic cleaning machine, which had stopped again to re-adjust.
“That machine has been chasing us around all day,” the fellow said with a chuckle.
Keeping the store clean is a good idea, but using a robot so close to Christmas during a busy shopping day was probably not in the best interest of the all the customers. Sam’s Club is always busy, and Sunday was no exception.
Anyway, it reminded me of a time in my days of youth when I decided to cut down my own Christmas tree. My Aunt Alice and now late Uncle Ronnie raised fryer chickens in two large chicken houses for Tysons on a spot of land near Fayetteville, Ark.
They raised 32,000 chickens (16,000 in each house) at a time. The chicken houses were more than a football field long and included automatic waterers and feeders.
It was a hilly area in northwest Arkansas and their farm included a ridge or plateau that was easily accessible by foot. I would sometime take my 22 rifle and shoot at critters on their farm.
I took my hand saw and climbed up to the ridge and spotted a nice five-foot or so pine tree. I cut it down and dragged it off the ridge and the half-mile or so to my aunt and uncle’s home where I loaded it in the trunk of my old 1959 Chevrolet Impala.
It was my dad’s old work car that I inherited while in high school. I drove it for several years. I loved that old car.
I loaded the tree in the trunk and tied down the trunk lid as it would not shut completely for the trip back to Tulsa.
That old tree was full of sap and not ideal for use as a Christmas tree. And the needles, my goodness, about half of them fell to the floor during the two weeks the tree was set up in the living room.
I was living in my boyhood home at the time as my folks had moved to their farm south of Tulsa. Some years earlier, they had installed a light shag carpet that was on its last leg. There wasn’t a vacuum powerful enough to clean the needles up, so I had to get on my hands and knees and handpick them out of the carpet. It took me a couple hours to complete the task.
“Never again,” I said to myself, knowing that the next Christmas tree I got was going to be coming from a local tree lot and not my uncle and aunt’s farm.
Back to shopping, we found the day to be enjoyable and met some of the nicest people at the various stops along the way. Even the cashier at Wal-Mart was kind, talkative and did a great job. From all the pins on her hat and vest, I think she’d been working at Wal-Mart for a long time.
In the electronic section, I asked a young lady who I thought was a Wal-Mart employee to help me with a price check. She didn’t work at the store, but did the check anyway. I took time to visit with her and a co-worker about cell phones and computers, which is what they were selling.
And down the aisle, I greeted a couple stock boys and wished them a Merry Christmas. I even enjoyed a nice chat with a young lady in the Kohl’s checkout line.
On the way home, we stopped at Culver’s in Newton. There was a family of four sitting at a booth waiting for their food. As we got ready to leave, I stopped briefly to say Merry Christmas. I think it was a surprise to them that someone would take time to greet them. I even sent well wishes and Merry Christmas to the good folks working behind the counter.
Life is too precious not to take time to greet others, send them well wishes, hold the door open for someone or wait a second to let someone go ahead of you in the line.
Enjoy the holidays and be sure and take time to do good unto others.
Have a great week and always remember that “Good Things are Happening,” every day.