A couple years ago during our church’s angel tree drive, my husband, filled with the holiday spirit, rashly grabbed two paper Christmas ornaments with gifts for us to buy written on the back. Proudly, he thrust them at me and asked me to buy the gifts.

Oh, that’s lovely, I thought, and then I flipped them over to see what I needed to get.

“WHAT? This one says a bike for a 12-18 year-old-girl WITH HELMET. That’s probably $150, plus I’ll have to haul that in and out of my Subaru. My wagon Subaru. The other one says a craft set for an 8-10 year-old-girl. You should have gotten another one like that.”

“I didn’t look at the back.”

“Of course, you didn’t. Listen. Next week, we’ve got to put this one back on the tree when no one is looking and then just grab another one.”



So a few days later, battling the wind and cold, I made my pilgrimage to Wal-mart. Finding the pink bike within minutes and silently congratulating myself on my efficiency, I went to take it off the ELEVATED RACK and almost ended up in traction. My breathing hitched as the muscles in my shoulders reminded me that I needed to work out. In the middle of my crises, a wonderful woman saw my dilemma and came to my aid. She hoisted the front of the bike for me as I panted, “It’s caught on something. I can feel something grabbing at it,” all with my arms over my head, the blood draining from my fingers and arms.

With the bike safely on the ground, it suddenly occurred to me that I had to push it and the cart to the front of the store. This was clearly a two-person job or a one-person job if that person is an idiot. So I weaved the bike and cart toward the front of the store as people encouraged me with these words: “Someone’s going to be happy this Christmas.” I would have given a little queenly wave but my hands were a little busy pushing the cart and recovering their blood supply.

Safely through the self-check out, I braced against the cold and wobbled to my car. There was some difficulty lifting the bike into the Subaru, some minor damage to my bumper, some negative thoughts about my husband not being there. But I digress.

I did it. After dropping the bike off at the church, I had the satisfaction—maybe even bordering on smugness—of having accomplished this feat on my own. And, of course, I knew I’d feel great about giving this gift as soon as the spasm in my shoulder stopped.

Guess who who will selecting the Angel Tree ornaments this year ?