Thursday, December 20, 2007

Life: Maybe a new Christmas tradition for me

There was the periodic rattling of carts as two young employees of Ralphs after rounding them up pushed them back to the store.

Airplanes came in for landings every minute or so.

Cars trundled up and down the parking lot.

There was the quiet tinkle of a bell.

Yup, it is Christmas in the city and I manned the kettle and rang the bell in front of the Ralphs for two hours this evening.

It was neat to see parents give their kids some change or a dollar bill to put into the kettle.

"Thanks for your contribution!"

I smiled inside myself contemplating the internal dialog of people who walked past the kettle, stopped, walked back and placed in a contribution. What might have prompted a change of heart? Perhaps a recognition that came from gratitude? Or maybe a memory of someone who got help from the Salvation Army or someone who didn't?

Whether people gave or not, I did try to give them a smile and offer some holiday cheer with a hearty, "Have a good Christmas holiday!"

A few chatted briefly with me about nothing in particular as they placed some coins or bills in the kettle.

Some people had a grim look about them set upon their grocery shopping task, I wonder what was on their minds and how they felt to hear someone say, "Have a great evening."

Some thanked me as I thanked them for making a donation.

I could see some choose a path to enter the Ralphs that kept them from making eye contact with me.

One mom told her kids a nursery rhyme:

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat
Please put a penny in the old man's hat ...

She said the kettle is the old man's hat ... and her two kids each dropped in a few coins.

Definitely made it a point to give a smile for the kids and a big "Thanks!" for each one who dropped in coins!

One lady walked past me going in and going out and came back and placed a dime in the kettle saying, that was all I could find in my car.

"Thank you every little bit helps!"

Another lady, looking a bit worn down from life dropped in a few coins and said, I'm sorry I can't give more, I'm just a poor old lady.

I had to say, "God bless you for her effort!"

Please consider making a contribution when you see a red kettle.

Or go ahead and contact your nearest Salvation Army and volunteer to be a bell ringer.

If I haven't convinced you, check out the web page for Salvation Army and see if Kelly Clarkson can encourage you to help out in some way.

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