Stephenson Tales

Christmas Gifts for Lucy Chase

When our two youngest children were very little, I used to take them to what we then called a "department store." When Toni was five and Robert was three I took them into one of those stores that literally sells everything. I put Robbie in the seat in my shopping cart but Toni wanted to walk, so we began our parade. The scheme was this:

"Now kids, you can buy for Mom anything you would like to give her from you as her Christmas gift." Pretty dangerous!? I know it was, but I had deep faith in the children that they would pick something for her that she would really like and that (I hoped) I could afford. It worked.

Toni looked at everything on each side of each aisle as we traveled through and was the first to make her selection. She stopped us in the section of the store where they had all kinds of electric light bulbs, fancy outdoor lighting units and doorbells. She began to focus. "I want to get her a doorbell."

"All right," I agreed. "Which one do you want?"

"I don't know. How can I tell?"

"Let's hear some of them."

They were arranged on a large panel, each wired so the press of a button underneath the display sample would make it sound. She tried all dozen of them. "THAT one!"

I told the clerk that THAT was the one we wanted to buy. Toni was VERY surprised when the lady reached down and took a box off the supply shelf. "But that's not the one!"

The clerk kindly assured her that it was identical to the one she had selected but that it was already in a box for her, all ready to wrap. She sat back, satisfied.

We went on and as we moved into the ladies' clothing section, Robbie suddenly reached out and pulled toward him the sleeve of a beautiful blue satin bathrobe. It was a two-piece outfit with a matching flowing loose gown underneath.

"This for my mama."

The doorbell was in Harper House at Interlochen for years and years until it would no longer (no matter how persuasive I was) function any more. Lucy Chase still has the blue bathrobe and gown hanging on the back of the door of our upstairs bedroom.

Composed 5 November 2008; Transcribed by Lucky

© Jim Bob Stephenson 2008

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