Meaningless Drivel Monday: Hula Hoops and Gift Wrap

What do hula hoops and gift wrap have in common?  Nothing.
Or so I thought.

Enter a sweet older man hauling a purple hula hoop and a professional jump rope into the flag and gift-wrapping shop where I work one day a week.  It’s called “Festival of Flags and Gift Wrapping,” although during the Christmas season I wanted to change it to “Flags and Festival of Gift Wrapping.”  We (the four women who work during Christmas) wrapped gifts until our fingers bled from wrapping paper cuts, our carpals reached the end of their respective tunnels, and we began seeing only red and green, unable to tell our swollen legs and ankles from the tall rolls of paper and piles of gifts to be wrapped.   
But I digress.  
(That’s a whole ‘nother story anyway.)

This sweet man told me it was his wife’s birthday and he needed the two gifts wrapped separately.  But that was after he walked in, held up the purple hula hoop and said, “Can you wrap this?”

I hesitated.  
On non-Christmas season days our shop is a one-woman show.
Had I ever wrapped a hula hoop before?  No.
Did we have a box to fit a hula hoop?  No.
Did we have paper large enough to go around a hula hoop?  No.
But. . .
Could it be done?
Just like the little engine that could, I told myself, I think I can.  I think I can.

Bravely I replied, “Why yes, I think we can!  We don’t have a box, though.”  I proceeded to describe all the ways I thought it could be done.

“Whatever you can do, as long as it is wrapped,” he agreed, leaving the shop with a trusting smile on his face.  How could I refuse?

I called my boss, the shop owner, and explained my predicament and my thoughts.  She gave me a much-needed boost of confidence and so I spread paper, the hula hoop, and myself all over the floor of the shop and showed that hula hoop who was boss that day.

This is the result.  What do you think?
My boss said I did good.
To the next customer who wants to bring in something odd needing wrapping, 
I say, “Bring it!”



Teacher Tuesday: Worth Remembering (FOLK Magazine Journal Challenge)

Today marks the beginning of the Jewish Passover, and FOLK Magazine’s 2013 Journal Challenge urges us to reflect on the importance of remembering.  It has been said that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.  Remembering past mistakes and making corrections is critical for eventual success.
But what about remembering family and/or religious traditions?  Are those important?  The Jewish and Christian faiths place great importance on remembrance of religious traditions.  The Passover itself was instituted by God as an annual remembrance of His deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage.  So is it important to remember family or religious traditions?
I say, yes, very much so.  Just as the Christian church observes traditions such as the Lord’s Supper, baptism, singing familiar hymns, and having Sunday School classes, families observe certain traditions as well.  What would Christmas and Thanksgiving be without traditions?  How many families do we know who put up a Christmas tree every year or have a turkey dinner every Thanksgiving?
Are these traditions important?  I believe they are very important, especially to children.  They provide security–a constant in an unpredictable world.  They provide connections to previous generations, and opportunities to spend time with people we would ordinarily not take the time to visit.  We often do not even realize that we are creating traditions with our families when we really are.  
I started a simple tradition in my home to help celebrate our birthdays.  One year I bought a cheap foil banner with the words “Happy Birthday” and placed it across the top of our entertainment center over the television.  I had gotten into the habit of placing birthday cards received on the top of the entertainment center and thought a banner would be a good way to show them off.  I have done this every year for each birthday since the children were small.  One year I couldn’t find the banner, and my daughter asked where it was.  I dug a little deeper in the drawer where I keep it, and there it was, so up it went.  Traditions do matter.  Our children count on them.
What traditions do you feel are important?