I was in a particularly happy and Christmassy mood on Saturday. Our whole family went downtown together, something we very rarely ever do. We did arrive in two cars, however: John and Bennett in one, coming from karate, and Grant and I in another, coming from home. But hey, there was free parking!
We spent time in various parent/son combinations while trying to secretly purchase presents for each other, and then return them to the trunks of our cars (where we didn't have to feed the meter!) Most of my time was spent in The Compleat Gamer, with a nice gentleman who helped me find games that our whole family can play together.
As the sun was slanting westward, Santa came out of a doorway to welcome us into his little brick haven, where he sat on the floor with the boys, showed them his sleigh bells and performed yo-yo tricks. He was the Real Deal. Best of all, there was no one taking photos and trying to sell them to us on mugs or t-shirts or ornaments.
On the corner of Tejon and Boulder, Grant and I stopped and listened to a man playing the guitar and singing.... "Shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel, things are going to be much better, if you only will...." (Confession-I love James Taylor, if only because John played and sang "Something in the Way She Moves" while I walked down the aisle at our wedding, but that's another story)
Even though I knew Grant was anxious to get into the toy store, we just paused to listen for awhile. When the song was over, I got out my wallet to give him a buck, only to find out that I had neither cash nor coins.
Grant said, "I have money."
And he wrestled his wallet out of his coat pocket, opened it, dumped some change into the palm of his hand, and placed it in the guitar case. That was the beginning of my "particularly happy and Christmassy mood."
Later, on the corner of Tejon and Bijou, we walked by a blind man in a black overcoat with his hand out. Again, Grant shook some coins into his hand, and bravely walked forward to place them in the man's dirty palm. I know he was a bit frightened, but he didn't hesitate.
I was so proud of him at that moment. I felt the nearly nine years of child rearing paying off, with interest.
Our afternoon was made complete by a late lunch at the newly-opened Heart of Jerusalem Cafe (on Bijou where the Jambo Juice used to be - Go there NOW!). I was prepared to get my supertaster a bagel from around the corner, when I saw that they had chicken nuggets on the menu. Halle-fuckin-lujah! Bennett and I had falafel, John had lamb, Grant had nuggets (again, like Santa, the Real Deal). Everybody happy!
I don't care if the blind man spends the money on booze or if we spent too much money on games or if Santa is a lie or if Tejon is going to go both ways or if free parking is part of a plot to lure shoppers downtown or if Jerusalem (and Colorado Springs, for that matter) is a city fucked up by religion...... (it seems I can't write a truly "happy" story anymore, sorry folks... ) Anyway, the point I'm trying to make (rather feebly at this point, I admit) is that Christmas should make us all slow down, eat good food, spend time with our families, suspend disbelief, go downtown instead of to the mall, and take time to give. Sometimes it's OK, and even necessary, to leave our cynicism behind.