The holiday season has me in a straight-up chokehold – already. There are no less than about a thousand things I need to do before my family and I leave for our trip to north Georgia for Thanksgiving. And don’t even get me started on Christmas. I haven’t bought the first present, or decorated the first bough.
Even the office is busy. We work three days this week with folks getting in last minute appointments before the extra-long Thanksgiving weekend. The hustle-bustle is most certainly in the air.
It is way too early for sentiment, but it seems the older I get, the more sentimental. I get teary-eyed over the silliest of things – a carol, a handmade decoration, a Publix commercial.
Yesterday though, I couldn’t help myself. I was at the grocery store and as I turned down the baking goods aisle, it caught my eye. Sitting hopefully on the shelf with its proud whiteness and hopeful blue label, there it was - Marshmallow Fluff. Right then and there with the soft strains of Bing Crosby’s “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” in the background, I started to cry.
It’s all my friend Ginger’s fault. Ginger is the quintessential, almost stereotypical office manager. She’s ultra-organized, super together. She has a three-ring binder for everything. Got a question about percentages or spreadsheets? Ask Ginger. Need more Biofreeze or electrodes? Ask Ginger. Yikes, no more Softsoap in the bathroom? Tell Ginger.
In fact, it was Ginger’s idea to put the dry/canned food donation boxes in our offices to support local food banks. Before I could even wrap the donation box in holiday paper, Ginger had already brought in a sack full of cans and boxes and very casually told me her food box story.
As it turns out, Ginger was once a knock-kneed, strawberry-blond go-getter who at five years old walked all alone to Sunday school and church. She explained that her mother did the very best she could, but sometimes there was just not enough. At the holidays, she and her family were often the recipients of canned food boxes. Then, one Christmas, they received a box that included Marshmallow Fluff.
“Mama wasn’t going to bake with it and my brother didn’t want it. So, I opened the lid, pushed in a spoon, pulled it out and put the entire spoonful of that pure white, sugar-stickiness in my mouth. It was all mine. I didn’t have to share,” she sighed with a smile and added, “And that was Christmas.” Just like that, she walked back to her office.
I just stood there, slack jawed, staring stupidly into the space where she had been standing. I felt like an idiot, for so many reasons. She had no idea, but her story was an Earth-tilting moment for me. Ever have one of those?
There are lots and lots of lessons to be learned from the Marshmallow Fluff story, I certainly learned an awful lot from it, but I share only this one: In this season of hurry-up and hustle-bustle and cramped calendars and grocery shopping, I am buying and donating lots and lots of Marshmallow Fluff. I encourage you to do the same.
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