This time of year always finds my mind constantly drifting into the past. Much advice is given us to look forward, to move on and embrace the future. I know this is sound advice and some things we do need to let go of if we are to achieve our dreams and realize our full potential. However memories of the sweet type can help us to understand who we are, how we got to the point in our journey we are at now.
My first paying job, other than babysitting for fifty cents an hour, was working at a Christmas tree lot when I was fifteen. It had great appeal for me because of being outside, surrounded by the heady smell of the fresh trees and being my first experience serving the public, it was fun because the customers were filled with holiday cheer. Families with excited young children who ask me if I worked for Santa, an older couple who was so eager for Christmas because it would be the first one in a while that all their family would be together. They took a lot of time choosing a tree because it had to be just perfect and after narrowing their selection to two ask me to pick because they weren’t sure which was best. All the shoppers’ enthusiasm was contagious so in spite of being very shy I soon was having little problem helping strangers with their purchases. I also discovered that a big smile and bright greeting on my part, generated more tips.
This awesome job came about because of my Dads older sister, my Aunt Hope. She was an enterprising single lady, who worked for a truck supply business. When a customer with a load of trees found himself delayed from his destination because of major break down of his rig, Aunt Hope went to work finding a lot she could rent for a short-term, had temporary electric service installed and went into partnership with the truck driver to sell the trees. And I was hired as a helper. Some years later I began to understand what a valuable gift she had given me. As I mentioned earlier I was very shy and prone to avoid challenges because of a lack of self-confidence, but I found the success I had selling the Christmas trees was something I could draw on when faced with new situations. I never ask her but I wonder if that was partly why, out of all her nieces and nephews, I was the one she offered the job to.
So this time of year brings memories of , keeping warm by a fire in a fifty gallon drum in the early morning chill, hot chocolate poured from a stainless steel thermos, gloves sticky with pine sap, laughter over the needles in our hair, the truck driver declaring it was the best lay-over he had ever had, and the feeling a young girl took away with her from being a part of something important. Thank you Aunt Hope.