When the kids were little, they sold gift-wrap for their elementary school. Our family bought it, our neighbors bought it, our friends bought it and we bought it. I didn’t need gift-wrap then and I don’t need it now. Partly we bought it to support the schools. But mostly we bought it to support them and watch the excitement that each new order generated.
Our school secretary, Mary was our best customer. Never did she wince when we came around with the order form. She’d happily leaf through the selections, carefully selecting pretty paper for the holidays. After years of this, she’d sometimes ask us, "shouldn’t the girls be selling the gift-wrap by now?" The girls were thrilled with her orders as she usually put them over the next tier of “prizes” they could accumulate. “Prizes” that we’d end up recycling before the years end.
Thursday our doorbell rings. It is our little neighbor coming around selling paper for the same school our kids attended. I thought of Mary and her unconditional support. He came in and the two of us sat under the family room fan looking through the paper that probably is not environmentally friendly, but nevertheless beautiful. How could I say no?
After getting an update on the status of the teachers at the school and visiting with this little 4th grader, I placed my order. Watching him mentally calculate the prizes with this new order brought back sweet memories of my girls.
It will be years before this little neighbor and his brother stop coming by to sell gift-wrap. And, it will be years that delight me as I go back in time to revisit these sweet memories of the innocence of youth. Thursday, I was Mary.