Among this season’s predominantly upbeat Christmas stories of Good Samaritans and courteous shoppers, there is one that will go down in the annals of my just-now initiated Raspberry Awards. Talk about a black-caped villain sans mustache! (It was a woman). She not only out-Grinched the Grinch, she kicked Tiny Tim’s crutches out from under him and stole his Christmas goose. Boooooo! Boooooo!
The press of Christmas shoppers was intimidating to the physically and mentally drained, hard-working shipping clerk. Katie’s upcoming birthday would mark 60 years, and though her naturally long blond hair and big blue eyes belied it, she was feeling every one of them, including her painfully arthritic hands. Never comfortable in crowds, she always put off holiday shopping until it could not be put off any longer. Her Christmas list had dwindled with each passing year, until now it concentrated mainly on her two grandsons, one of whom (the 11-year-old) loved Duck Dynasty.
She had stopped at Wal-Mart in Springville (AL) after a full day’s demanding work. She just wanted to pick up something her grandsons would enjoy, then go home, put her feet up, and collapse. Prowling through the super store, she was thinking about the characters and games that were currently capturing each child’s mind and imagination. She always bought them some items of clothing featuring their favorite themes, and, of course, a couple of toys.
Spotting a row of Duck Dynasty bobble-head dolls she walked over and examined them. No other shoppers were near the display. Spotting her grandson’s favorite “Duck” character, she reached out to pick it up. Just as her fingertips came within a whisper of the item, a hand, like a striking snake, darted under hers and snatched it up. Stunned, Katie looked up to find a woman pumping her fist triumphantly in the air, the bobble-head clutched tight within it. Whooping like she’d just made the winning touchdown at the Super Bowl, she proudly bore her pillaged booty away.
Let me tell you. I grew up with Katie. She’s my baby sister. She and I both have never been soft, mealy-mouthed Southern Belle’s who waited for a man to come along to save us. If an anti-bully remedy was required, the bully got a good dose of it.. Although Katie’s normal comportment is very much circumspect, and she is normally friendly and humorous, I wouldn’t suggest making her mad.
She and I were the self-appointed bodyguards of younger siblings in our heyday. Country people are not always Ma and Pa Kettle, and Katie and I both have been in some tight situations. She is the only female I ever knew who could use her fists to very good effect. She once backed down a knife-wielding grown man who was terrorizing our younger brother Tim. Tim was a tall, skinny thirteen-year-old.
So, that female Grinch in the super store came within a whisper of getting her beak bloodied. Adrenalin roared through Katie like a the Johnstown Flood, only a prayer staying her hand. “God give me strength,” was the prayer that held back the flood, “It’s only a thing, Lord. It’s not what Christmas is about. And you know I’m in a bad mood.” With gritted teeth Katie looked at the gleeful woman, and, her tight voice rich with sarcasm said, “Merry Christmas to you, too.” It was a miracle of Biblical proportions. The sarcasm surely hardly registered on the heavenly Richter scale.
Bully shoppers think of themselves as clever anti-heroes, cheered and revered by the lowest common denominator. I ask you. Is that a goal worth your self-respect? And the next time you try something so crass, you might think about the fact that you could be messing with the absolutely wrong person. Some people don’t have a spiritual shield to throw up against a tide of anger. Lady, you KNOW who you are. So here’s my first Raspberry and Bag of Coal Award. Enjoy.