Timmy’s Day of Christmas Shopping

A Christmas Story About Giving

“Mom, do you think $8.17 is enough to buy Susie a bicycle?”

Timmy looked over the breakfast table at his Mother, anxiously awaiting an answer. Mrs. Thomas was a bit flustered by this request. Timmy was protective of his little sister, Susie. Yesterday Susie had tried to ride Timmy’s bike, but it was a little too tall for her. She had fallen off and scraped her knee. This had upset Timmy – perhaps more than Mrs. Thomas had realized.

“Timmy, Christmas is coming. I think Santa Claus will bring Susie her very own bike. It’s on his list.”

“Really?” said Timmy. “Do you know what’s on Santa’s list for me?

“Actually, I do.” Timmy’s eyes lit up. “But,” said Mrs. Thomas, grinning as she put her finger to her lips, “it’s a surprise.”

“Oh,” said Timmy with disappointment in his voice. He hesitated, then said, “I counted out my money in my piggy bank. It was $8.17. Do you think I could buy Susie and Billy presents with that much?”

Mrs. Thomas thought before she answered. “Timmy, I think it’s very sweet of you to think about buying presents for your sister and brother. However, I don’t think your $8.17 will go very far for presents.” Timmy’s face fell. Mrs. Thomas continued. “How about if I give you a little extra to help your kindness out? Say $20.00? We could go shopping tomorrow – just you and me so your presents will be a surprise for Susie and Billy.”

Timmy’s face brightened, “Oh, Mom, you’re the best! I can’t wait!” With that, he ran off into the playroom.

All the rest of the day, Mrs. Thomas noticed Timmy carefully observing Billy playing with his train set and Susie playing with her dolls and toy animals.

The next day, Timmy and his Mother set off for the local store. Under the watchful eye of Mrs. Thomas, Timmy roamed the shelves of the toy department. First, picking out an expensive train set for Billy. Then, his Mother had to tell him the disappointing news that the present would take much more money than he had. 

He picked out a chemistry set next, then a toy robot. Each time he would look at his Mother, and she would shake her head and mouth, “Too much money.”

At this point, Mrs. Thomas heard her name and turned to see Reverend Piper. “Hello there, are you shopping for toys, too, Rev. Piper?”

The Reverend was the pastor of their church. “Yes, I was trying to find some toys for the children on our Angel tree. So many little boys and girls will not get any toys this Christmas if we don’t help Santa out, you know.” He winked at Mrs. Thomas as he nodded toward Timmy.

“Oh, that’s so nice of you. May I give you some extra money to help you pay for those purchases?” She ruffled through her purse and found a twenty-dollar bill, which she gave to Rev. Piper. She looked carefully in her wallet to find two ten-dollar bills. She bit her lip and whispered something to Rev. Piper, and they exchanged the twenty-dollar bill for the two ten-dollar bills.

Rev. Piper approached Timmy. “Are you looking for something in particular, Timmy?”

Timmy nodded and told Rev. Piper his plan to get his sister and brother gifts with his $28.17, but so far found everything very expensive – more than he could afford.

Rev. Piper told Timmy he was planning to get gifts for children that would otherwise not get gifts at Christmas.

Timmy looked at Rev. Piper with big eyes. “Have they been bad all year long? Is that why they are not getting presents?”

Rev. Piper hesitated, then, with his hands held behind his back, crossed his fingers, and said. “No, no, it’s just that some children’s families aren’t as blessed as your family Timmy. So Santa has asked that I provide them with some toys.” He quickly changed the subject. “What are you giving to Susie and Billy?”

Timmy sighed, “Well, Susie like dolls and stuffed animals. Yesterday she said she wanted to become a vet … vet-train-e-um when she grows up.”

“Oh, a veterinarian? An animal doctor?”

With tears in his eyes, Timmy nodded his head and said, “And Billy loves trains, but everything is too expensive.”

Rev. Piper placed his finger alongside his nose and said. “Oh, come with me. I think I saw something that might work, and they weren’t very expensive.”  Rev. Piper led Timmy down the aisle to a bin of toys. It was marked $8.99. He rummaged around and found just what he wanted – a brightly colored, red, blue, and black train engine that was a wind-up toy! “Here, try it out and see if Billy would like it.”

Timmy placed it on the floor and wound the big metal key. The train chugged along on the floor and went all the way to where Timmy’s Mother stood!

Timmy clapped his hands and said, “Oh, Mommy! Won’t Billy like this? And it’s just $8.99!”

“I think it’s wonderful, Timmy. Of course, Billy would be pleased with that! Have you found anything for Susie yet?”

“Not yet, but we are still looking.” Timmy took Rev. Piper’s hand, and together they walked over to the girl’s toys and began looking. Timmy spied a small basket with a pretend cat lying inside and many extra toys for the cat wrapped in cellophane, but it was too expensive. Finally, they came across a shelf marked half-price. There sat the perfect gift for Susie – a Pet Care set with a plush dog and accessories like a play stethoscope, bandages, and several other things to take care of a sick pet friend. The cute set was just $10.99.

Rev. Piper took out his phone and added how much it would cost Timmy to purchase both the train and the pet set. “Let’s see, $8.99 plus 10.99 equals …” He punched a button. “Just $19.98 and seven cents percent tax would be $1.40. That would equal $21.39, and you have how much to spend?”

“$28.17”, Said Timmy and his Mother simultaneously.

“Ah, that leaves you $6.78, just enough to get wrapping paper and ribbon to wrap the toys.” Rev. Piper said.

Timmy pulled at Rev. Piper’s coat. “I think we have those things at home. Instead, will you take the rest of my money to buy presents for the children that aren’t as blessed as me?”

Rev. Piper’s face broke into a wide smile. “…Out of the mouth of babes … Timmy, I think you have found the true meaning of Christmas – that giving is a whole lot more fun than receiving. If we give freely – and with love – our gifts are readily appreciated. When we give to others, we pay tribute to the gift of the Baby Jesus to mankind.”

Rev. Piper looked up at Mrs. Thomas. “I think I have found the makings of a good Christmas sermon. Thank you, Timmy!”

Timmy blushed, and his cheeks shone as red as Christmas cranberries!


An Interview With the Easter Bunny

This is the transcript of the popular radio show Meet The Celebrity recorded on 4/1/22. The interviewer is our esteemed radio show host Don Orange.

Don Orange: Good afternoon listeners! This is Don Orange coming to you from our studio in the great city of Fantasy, USA. Today we have a real treat for you – an interview with the original Easter Bunny himself, Mr., Benjamin Bun-neeee. 

Mr. Bunny, May I call you Benjamin? Benny? Benji?

Easter Bunny: You may call me Mr. Bunny.

Don Orange: Alrighty Mr. Bunny, It’s very nice to have you on our program today.

Easter Bunny: I’m sure it is.

Don Orange: Umm, Okay, Let’s get down to it then. Mr. Bunny, there is always the proverbial question when it comes to the Easter tradition of you or your kind bringing Easter Eggs to little boys and girls on Easter Sunday. So the question is – which came first The Bunny or the Easter Egg?

There can be heard in the background a great disturbance in the studio with loud clucking in the background,

Claudia Chicken: B-wok, Bwok! Buc-buc-bwok. Mr. Orange, I just have to interrupt. The question’s answer is obvious! The chicken of course, for how else is the egg to appear?

Don Orange: And you are?

Claudia Chicken: Claudia Chicken, sir. I just want people to know that Mr. Easter Bunny doesn’t do those eggs all by himself. He has the help of millions of Chickens. If it weren’t for us, there would be no Easter Eggs.

Don Orange: Hmm, Miss Chicken has a point, Mr. Bunny. What say you to her argument?

Easter Bunny:  If you would have let me answer before rudely interrupting Miss Chicken, you would know that I was about to give the chickens their due. While it is true that chickens supply the eggs, we must not forget that fairies color them. And the most important part of the whole operation is Moi, who packs them in baskets and takes them to the children. For if the eggs don’t get to the children, what good are the eggs?

Claudia Chicken: Buc-boc-bwok! But if you didn’t have the eggs how could you deliver the baskets, Mr. Bunny?

Don Orange: Hmm, we seem to be moving in a circle here. Let’s move on to the next question? Mr. Bunny, Charlene of Ft. Wayne, Indiana wants to know what is the significance of the eggs?

Easter Bunny: Why thank you for asking such a good question, Mr. Orange. The Easter Egg symbolizes the Son of God’s resurrection, just as the chick comes out of the egg, so did Christ arise out of the tomb on Easter morning.  The tradition of giving eggs dates back to the 1600s when eggs were forbidden to be eaten during Lent. In Medieval England, on the Saturday before Lent started, children would go door to door begging for eggs as treats before they started their fast.

Don Orange: That’s fascinating, Mr. Bunny but why were the eggs dyed and decorated?

Easter Bunny: Later the Greek Church began the custom of dying the eggs red to signify the blood of Christ. Then other areas added the Spring colors of green and yellow to celebrate Spring and the renewal of life.

Don Orange: Oh, that is interesting. Here’s a question from Bruce Jackson of Royal, New Hampshire, he asks why aren’t there more orange Easter Eggs?

Long pause…

Easter Bunny: Well … um, because Oranges aren’t in season yet?  

Don Orange: Hmm… That sounds reasonable. We have time for one more question. Yes. Ms. Chicken, what is your question for Mr. Bunny?

Claudia Chicken: The girls in the henhouse all want to know, What is your favorite color of an Easter egg?

Easter Bunny: Well, it’s very hard for me to pick because I love almost every color other than Black. So I would say … Hmm… a rainbow color. That would be my favorite.

Don Orange: Oh well said, Mr. Bunny! I’m afraid we are all out of time today. Tune in next week to Meet The Celebrity when I interview that wonderful actress, Judy Drench. Find out her secret to staying young.

Until then Happy Easter!

Poem, Uncategorized

To Mask Or Not to Mask, That is the Question

I hope the Bard forgives me for mangling his lovely soliloquy. My wish is this has been written with the same gravitas as did Will when he conveyed his famous words.

A poem adapted from William Shakespeare’s famous soliloquy spoken by Hamlet.

By Marie Staight

To Mask Or Not to Mask

To Mask Or Not to Mask –

This is the question. ‘Tis nobler in the mind

To decry and protest our lack of freedom and choice,

Thus spreading this variant to the world.

And by opposing masks – end the lives of the young and weak?

Or nobler still to protect yourself and others

By wearing masks to end

This scourge upon humanity?

Thus to suffer the slings and arrows

Of the outrageous mobs.

For when we take upon ourselves

The burden of others’ freedom and choice

Are we not limiting our time on earth too?

In death, will we not hear the cries of those we denied

A chance to live longer and fuller lives?

It is a conundrum as to whether we will mask

And take the steps to safeguard

Our loved ones and the unknown too

To mask, to vaccinate, to live, or die.

These burdens must we all bear.


(W)Ring Out the Old, Ring in the New

The new year is here. Time to wring out all the old stuff and bring in some fresh new bells and whistles. I am the first to admit that I was not attentive to this blog for many months, but it’s time to start anew. What better way than to give homage to an old (like medieval) tradition – The Vow of the Peacock.

The new year brings the opportunity to pledge changes in our lives called New Year’s Resolutions. They look pretty much the same from year to year: Lose weight; Drink or smoke less; exercise more; get organized; etc. These resolutions we make are devoted to self-improvement. We try to make ourselves look and feel physically better. However, these goals are notorious for falling to the wayside as we travel through the year.

Instead of these self-improvement resolutions, I want to propose turning to a Medieval tradition that Charles Dickens revealed in his periodical All the Year Round. He referred to The Peacock Vow made by the Knights of the Kingdom to uphold the Vows of Chivalry. If you are not familiar with the pledge to chivalry, here are the contents.

The Knights would make this Vow on either the body of a live or cooked regal peacock which represented the King and Country.

What better way to enter the dawn of each New Year than to recommit oneself to these principles? Our Country (USA) needs this commitment. Our lives need this too. The world would be a better place for it.


The St. Patrick’s Day Gift

I have a special St. Patrick’s Day story for you all. I hope you enjoy it.

There it was again – March 17th, St Patrick’s Day – ten days away. I knew my darling husband was eager to know what gift I would get him for his sacred holiday. You see, Conor was Irish – a tried and true Irishman. He’d come to this country as a nine-year-old boy with his family, but I don’t think his heart had ever left Ireland. His father, Liam Callahan, was an architectural engineer who helped build bridges and just never left. Liam and his mother, Erin, loved America and eventually applied for citizenship. Conor thinks they just were tired of the Irish Troubles, and America was a safe place to be in those times. Following his family’s example, Conor became a citizen too, but he still dreams of returning to his native country. I wish I could buy him a ticket to his hometown of Cobh in Cork County. Its claim to fame is that it was the last stop before the Titanic set off on its ill-fated journey.

Whenever St. Patrick’s Day comes around, Conor treats the day like Christmas. He had the shivers when he saw the Chicago River turn green. He was first in line to watch the Chicago St. Paddy’s Day parade. He gave everyone a present. In a nutshell, he went way overboard for the day and was crushed if I didn’t share his enthusiasm. We broke up for three months after the first St. Patrick’s Day we were together because I made fun of his green beard. I had to do some fancy mea culpas to resume our relationship. Since then, I have tried to get him a meaningful Irish present each year on the holiday.

After Shamrock chocolates, several different Irish tee shirts over the years, diamond-studded four-leaf clover cuff links, and for our wedding, a sterling silver Claddagh wedding ring; what was I supposed to get him this year? I had been searching all the little stores around our apartment, in catalogs, and online for an unusual gift. The days rolled by, and I was down to two days. I had to find something. An Irish garden flag? Dr. Squatsh’s manly scented soap bars? A book about Ireland? None of these choices seemed unique enough.

On March 16th, I set out to the local bookstore to find a book on Ireland that Conor didn’t have. Fortunately, Daisy Morgan of The Book Cellar Around the Corner had a selection of books and trinkets set out in a special display for St. Patrick’s Day. I unenthusiastically perused the books. Nothing was striking my fancy. Then my eyes set upon the perfect gift for Conor, an Irish gnome! The light green-robed gnome was about 7 inches high. Its pointed hat was about half its size. A hatband ringed the bottom of the hat. This band was intricately carved with a linear Celtic knot, and the band hid the figure’s eyes. A pudgy nose peeked out from the hat – surrounded by a magnificent mustache. He also had an extensive beard carved with more Celtic swirls that fell down almost to the bottom of the figure. His left hand lay by his side, figuring his long beard. His right hand held a dark green lucky Shamrock.

Gnomes are, of course, one of the “Little Folk” that haunt the isle of Ireland. This one was so whimsical that I thought for sure Conor would love him at first sight. Daisy wrapped my present in green paper all the time, chattering on that I was the second person in an hour that had bought one of these little fellas.

 “They’re just so cute!” she gushed. She called to me as I left the store, “I hope you enjoy it!”

 I awoke the next day a bit nervous, hoping that I had bought the best present for Conor. Carefully I placed the shamrock-decorated green bag next to his bowl of Irish oatmeal made especially for St. Paddy’s Day. I beamed as Conor came into the kitchen.

 “You remembered! Irish oatmeal!” In his hand, he had a small box wrapped in green paper and had green ribbons hanging from the middle of the package.

 “Of course I did.” I shoved my present toward him.

Conor gave me a big kiss and handed me his present. “Here.” He said unceremoniously. “I hope you like it.”

I couldn’t wait. I tore off the paper but stopped to watch Conor pull out the gnome hidden below the green wrapping paper.

The look on his face when he saw the little green gnome was not what I expected. His brows knitted together; his lips parted into an ‘O’. Then he lifted his head and commanded, “Open yours.”

Disappointed, thinking he was not happy with the gift, I proceeded to tug off the rest of the paper and open the box. There nestled in the box, among a cloud of green crinkle paper, was an exact twin to the gnome that Conor held in his hands. Stunned, I looked up at him. He wore a goofy smile. “Happy St. Patrick’s Day, my love.”

Comments are welcome!