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Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Midas Touch?

Wow. Sometimes, seemingly against all odds, we can end up having several days in a row in which it seems that we have been blessed with a variation of the Midas Touch. If you don't remember the ancient story, King Midas, who possibly ruled in the area of Macedonia about 200 BC or thereabouts, wanted to have the ability to turn whatever he wished into gold. Sounds pretty cool, right? Not so great, actually. Although the Gods granted his request, he soon realized that this blessing was really a curse. You see, not only did his touch turn sand and stone to gold, it also happened with any and all food and drink that he tried to consume. What a punchline for a trick played by the Gods... a man starving to death, surrounded by riches galore. Obviously, Trent and I haven't had a true Midas Touch this week. It just seemed, for a few days there, that we had tapped into a little bit of magic. And the joy it gave us was truly immense. 

Christmas Eve Monday night, I managed to find the energy to make a batch of oatmeal chocolate-chip cookie bars to give to our friend Tony at our local supermarket, and to his coworkers who also had to work on Christmas Eve day. (I have to admit it was a bit of a challenge for me; I still haven't fully recovered my strength from my hospital stay earlier this month. I have come to the conclusion that being so ill may have irritated my lupus, making the fatigue and weakness last longer than I would have expected. But as our friend Julie would say, I'm upright and able to take nourishment, so I'm good.) To see the excited smiles on people's faces when we arrived bearing home-made treats made our day. And when we handed Tony his own tin stuffed with cookies, he immediately opened it and ate one right in front of us. "Oh," he said, "you really packed the chocolate in these!" He was thrilled, and hugged us before getting on to his next customer. Although I was tired, I was still walking on air, and I think Trent was, too.

Christmas Day I think all of us have friends or family that we have a hard time finding gifts for. Not that the people involved have ridiculously extravagant tastes or are the kinds of people who just hate everything. Our friends Marie and Thayne usually receive cookie bars and home-made Chex Mix from us for Christmas. What could we get for them that they hadn't already been able to get for themselves? And then something great happened. I saw a personal-sized water-infuser bottle online. My friend Marie has been experimenting with infusing water for a while now. But of course, you have to try and hold the fruits under the surface of the water with ice or something. And who has room in their fridge for a big pitcher of water? This bottle has a compartment at the bottom where you place the fruits or vegetables or whatever you want your water to be flavored with. You put the filtering screen on top, twist, and it all gets cut up. Pour in some water, and voila, natural, tasty water. This would be perfect for Marie, I thought, and Trent agreed.

We also found something online we thought would be perfect for Thayne. He works in the computer industry and does a good amount of traveling. We found something called a Cocoon that had all sorts of adjustable elastic straps to corral power cords or medicine bottles or small electronics, or whatever. As far as their kids, we got boxes of yummy candy for each single or couple. We were a bit worried about Scott, Thayne's son, because he's quite fit and we thought he might not want candy. Well, when Christmas Day arrived, we found that we had made three people very happy. Scott was thrilled with his box of chocolates. Thayne love his little tin of Tabasco chocolates, but when he saw his Cocoon, he remarked that one of his colleagues had showed him one and suggested he get himself one as well. He had put the idea on the back burner, and then received it for Christmas! And Marie! Oh, my goodness! Yes, she liked her Abba-Zabba bar and her 'Smores kit. As far as the bottle was concerned, she was like a kid with a new toy! She had to wash and use her new infuser bottle right away. She kept playing with it, and stirring the fruit around in the bottom. Our hearts were full seeing all three of them enjoy their gifts so much. That is what makes Christmas special for me.

December 26, Boxing Day There's a book I have wanted for two Christmases now. On this day, I wanted to go to the bookstore and buy it. As we were waiting in line, we chatted with a woman and a girl we presumed was her daughter, but was actually her granddaughter. They were looking at some candy on a display, and we talked about it being hand-made right here in Denver, Colorado. This candy, from the Hammond Candy Company, is now sold all over the world. It is still made by hand every day, and the ribbon candy is hand-cranked through a machine that dates back to the 1800s. When we left the bookstore, we walked over to World Market. Inside, we heard a woman's voice asking if we were following them. We all got a good laugh out of it. I told them I wanted to get some more Hi-Chews while I was in there, and we went along. We ran into the duo a couple of times before I made the girl's day. I saw the cookies she was going to buy, and told her that she should try a certain type of cookie that I had eaten when I was in Paris. Her face lit up. Apparently she decided hen she was very young that she wanted to travel, especially to Paris. I told the girl, Lexi, to keep dreaming big, and that I hoped that she would get to go everywhere she wants to travel. We talked about it a few minutes, and the lady, Suzi, gave me her business card. I promised to send her an email with photos of Paris within a week. The email went out yesterday. I know that even if I never see or hear from her again, Lexi will be pleased to receive these photos from a stranger. And that makes me happy.

I feel that Trent and I have been very fortunate this Christmas season. Doing things that make someone else truly happy is a gift in both directions. The people on the receiving end were happy, of course. But their excitement and pleasure was nothing compared to the joy we felt from being able to trigger those feelings. And that's what I call a great Christmas!