Saturday, August 25, 2007

Wishing Traditions

Yesterday, coming home from work with the girls in tow, we had a surprise on our front doorstep.

The Sears Christmas Wish-Book was waiting for us.

The surprise was that Sears still publishes a catalogue. I personally haven’t seen one since at least the rise of the Internet.

But then I wasn’t exactly a member of Sears target catalogue audience until recently.

I picked up the two-inch thick tome of available wares up and gave it the quickie thumb-flip through. It was just like I remembered:

Tools and Appliances
Yard and Patio

and Sporting Goods

and Toys.

The memories came flooding back. The weekend mornings of me and my brother Paul lying on the floor of the living room, carefully scrutinizing every product entry that fell within the boundaries of the toy and sporting goods sections of that colossal encyclopedia of what the world had to offer.

Ok, we scrutinized the boy’s toys, and flipped quickly past the girls stuff.

The action heroes, the hot wheel sets, the helicopters and planes that really flew.

Then we would review the sporting goods section, where all the ball gloves and bats, tents and various accessories were listed.

And I would start my list of things to ask Santa for.

I was pretty organized from the beginning. I would start at the first page and list everything of interest, and the page number. I would then proceed through the section until all pages had been indexed.

The first draft was usually several pages long.

As the time grew closer and closer to Christmas, I would continue to refine my list – scratching out those items that would not make the subsequent cuts.

In the end, I had a three-quarter page list. And I would present this final draft to my parents as my list for Santa. I was keenly aware that Mom had a direct line to Santa.

A slight sadness fell over me. It is only August. Okay, it's the last week of August. But still - “Did the Christmas Wish-book used to come before Labor Day?”

After I finished my quick thumb through, I called Alannah and Ashley-Rae into the living room. I sat them on the couch with me, and I introduced them to the Sears Christmas Wish-Book. And I explained to them:

“This is a wish book. This is a book for wishing from.”

“And the wishes come true Dad?”

“They might. They might not. But this is a book that shows you all the kinds of things that the world has to offer.”

“Everything in the world is in that book Dad?”

“No, but it’s a start. A pretty good start” and I turned the page to the sporting goods section. I showed them the ball gloves, and basket ball hoops. I showed the pool table section where they listed various types of accessories.

“Boooor-ring!” exclaimed Ashley-Rae.

“Isn’t there anything in there for kids, Dad?” asked Alannah with big hopeful eyes.

“Why yes, I believe there is some kid stuff in here too,” I replied, flipping to the first of many pages showing various 5-6 year old girl stuff.

As I walked down stairs to the family room, both girls sat in stunned awe looking at all the dolls, and doll houses, and games and toys. In a few minutes I heard the awe change to shrieks and could hear the pointed fingers slapping the page where they found something they like, and saying “I want that!” – “No I do, find something else!” … echoing through the house.

And I thought to myself … “What have I done?”

I’m anxious to get my hands on the Wish-Book myself. I will flip to the Tools, Yard and Patio sections.

And the Sporting Goods section.

I better go find some paper, before the girls use it all.

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