Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice. ~Author Unknown
Two of my granddaughters and their mom came from Bellingham to Edmonds for their annual holiday dress shopping spree last Tuesday. In the past we parked at Seattle Center, checked out the latest displays there, rode the monorail, walked the streets of Seattle, enjoyed a horse driven carriage ride, viewed the marvelous gingerbread houses at the Sheraton Hotel, and soaked up all the street activity – musicians, homeless panhandlers, store windows filled with animated displays, and the pulsating crowds of last minute shoppers and gawkers.
But this year, Lily was a 13-year old and the game plan was different. It was a “shop ‘til you drop” kind of day, and we started from Edmonds at noon, driving through stop and go freeway traffic, finally paying $l5.00 to park in a garage on Pike street. Thus we began a marathon of looking for a particular black dress to be worn to a friend’s December 31 Bat Mitzvah. The dress in question had been spotted on an internet site and was currently only available out of Canada according to our new teenager. Surely we would be able to find its counterpart in the big city of Seattle. Her sister, ten year old Kacey, was tagging unhappily along, visions of fish throwing at the market, another horse carriage ride, or an IMAX movie dancing in her head. The latter was not to be as we gamely went from one store to another in search of the perfect dress. By the time we had checked out American Eagle Outfitters, Express, Urban Outfitters, H & M, and Forever 21, to name only a few, it was 5:00 p.m. and we were hungry and discouraged. I suggested we head north to Alderwood Mall, meet their Auntie Nelle at Claim Jumper for some sustenance, and to continue our quest at Nordstrom and Macy’s. As we walked back to the car the girls were somewhat scandalized by the blatant pot smoker who stood near us as we waited to cross the street. We all “tsked, tsked,” and Kacey held her nose in disgust. It was probably a little more fascinating than the street scene in Bellingham.
We fought rush hour traffic heading north on I-5, but because we were eligible for the carpool lane, made the trip in record time. After regaining our strength at the restaurant we headed to Nordstrom but had no luck. Macy’s was next. They had a large selection, but none matched the envisioned dress. It must have a certain bodice, a twirly skirt and skinny shoulder straps. By this time, close to 8:00 p.m., like Rosa Parks, I just had to sit down. I told them they could find me at the outside Starbucks when they were finished shopping. During the 90-minute wait I had a skinny peppermint mocha and a very long phone conversation with my sister, Judy. I was considering a nap when suddenly they appeared, laughing hysterically, and filled with the need to tell about the “miracle” that had happened to them in one of the stores.
Apparently Kacey had spotted Santa and had taken off after him to tell him about her sister’s dilemma. One minute he was there and then he simply vanished. It seemed strange and impossible, and perhaps some kind of omen. In the meantime, Lily had found a dress that would have to do, and was standing in line to pay with her aunt, mother and Kacey, who was babbling about her Santa experience. They were telling the sales clerk their long, sad story, when suddenly she said a dress had just been returned and maybe they should look at it. Would you believe it was the VERY dress they had been looking for all along, in the exact right size, and here it was before their very eyes?
Of course they were full of this miracle, and Kacey just knew Santa had something to do with it. And who can argue?
Now the 2011 shopping trip to Seattle is just a memory. Lily will no doubt always remember her search for and finding the perfect dress, Kacey will always remember how much she hated all the shopping, the stinky pot smoker and Santa’s amazing disappearance, their mom made sure we would all remember everything, by taking many pictures to commemorate the miracle, and I will always remember the year that a little girl crossed over into young womanhood, when shopping became more important than anything else that downtown Seattle at Christmas had to offer.
I close by wishing you a very wonderful holiday, no matter how you celebrate, and a hope that you can look back on the year with a degree of peace and contentment. Here are some Christmas gift suggestions made by Oren Arnold: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.