Yesterday we decorated for Christmas. It’s not officially December but the last of the mashed potatoes and stuffing were gone and it seemed like something I could do with a clean conscience and only moderate disapproval from my mother. She’s a December 1st hardliner. I prefer to sort of go with the flow, like the one time in college when my roommates and I decorated for Christmas on Halloween night. When we figured we wouldn’t get any more tick-or-treaters, the pumpkins came down and the Christmas palace went up. It was a good couple of months. I think Delilah would approve.
When we got through all the boxes of green and red green-and-red-ness this year, I realized that the one thing missing was my favorite decoration in all the world, a garland of tiny mittens I’d made shortly after Dan and I were married. I copied the design from a Pottery Barn catalog, sewing the tiny mittens out of fleece one by one and then loosely embroidering Christmas designs on them, snowflakes, Christmas trees and such. I love them and they are gone. I frantically searched every box, only to realize that I’d gotten rid of a box of unwanted decorations the week before.
D.I. (sort of a Mormon Goodwill) keeps a trailer outside our church building for donations to be dropped into. Last week I took a load of several boxes, including the old Christmas decorations, and dropped them off in the back of the nearly empty trailer. So at church today, I opened the trailer to look for my long lost teeny weeny mitten garland, only to find the thing brimming full of junk. The trailer was about 20 feet long and completely filled with bicycles, dishes, electronics, clothes, beds, board games, and actual garbage.
Oh ye who put the pee-stained 80-year-old pillow in the trailer – REALLY?! That’s a “donation”? I’d like to donate something to you sometime.
But I really wanted the mittens so as my family headed into church, I pulled off my high-heeled boots and began making my way cat-like through the rubble of useless goods, over desks and through piles of suspect garbage bags. After sifting through boxes for 15 minutes, I gave up and made my way back out to the parking lot, defeated and drowning my sorrows in hand sanitizer.
During our church meeting Laylee sat quietly drawing pictures of each of us, Wanda with her little lips, huge cheeks and Mohawk, Dan with his pointy pin-head and glasses, Magoo with his fat head and me with my gorgeous eye-lashes, ravishing smile and meticulously placed zits. She was all about accuracy, studying my face carefully and then adding dots one at a time in the correct constellations on my forehead, nose and cheeks.
When I told the teenage girls I teach about my lost garland, one of them sincerely offered to go back into the D.I. trailer abyss and dig for me. I thanked her but told her it was hopeless. When Dan offered after church, I caved and accepted his willingness to gallantly risk his life for my handy-crafts. It takes a real man to dig through other people’s garbage in a church parking lot, while his friends and neighbors walk by giving him odd looks. I’m sure more than a few of them were wondering whether things had gotten so bad that we had stooped to stealing from the donations trailer. I stood guard while he navigated his way through the junk. No dice. I mean, there probably were dice in there somewhere, but no tiny mittens.
All I can do now is hope we find them somewhere in our garage, a location that somewhat resembles the D.I. trailer at this point, except all the donations have come directly from me and my rabble.