Saturday, December 11, 2010
CHRISTMAS CHALLENGE: STILL CHAMP
My first challenge was a couple of decades ago, when Cabbage Patch dolls first hit the market. It didn't matter how much you were willing to spend, a person couldn't find one. When stores would have a shipment, there were actually fist fights among the harried shoppers. (Remember this was before E-Bay, Amazon and all the other online purchase sites.) Try as we might, we couldn't find one for our little girl for Christmas and then a little miracle happened in our world.
My husband was laid off from the railroad and I was working in a clothing store to support our family. At our local grocery store, there was to be a drawing every fifteen minutes to win a Cabbage Patch doll, but the catch was that you had to be present to claim the prize. I left instructions that Hubby was to take our sweet girl to the store and wait the four hours for all of the drawings. Every fifteen minutes a name would be drawn and a replacement one if the person wasn't there.
After a couple of mind-numbing hours, Hubby zoned out. Luckily a little curly-headed girl brought him back in focus with, "Daddy, they just called your name!" Sure enough, he got to claim the doll and brought a smile to our little girl's face. He protected both the doll and our daughter as they went out to the car, because people were crazy about those silly dolls.
As I said, I was working in a clothing store and I didn't know what was going on in the drawing, until I walked into the shoe department of the store and there was a sight for sore eyes. My hubby was holding our precious little girl, who in turn was hugging a cute baby boy Cabbage Patch doll. My hubby provided something that even the wealthy couldn't acquire that year. That red-sailor-suited little doll brought a smile to everyone's faces.
Now, forward a few decades and my daughter said that she wanted her little guy to have a Fisher Price record player. No problem, right? Wrong! That re-issued record player has been sucked up by greedy people who are turning around and selling it for two to three times its worth on Amazon and Ebay.
Target stores are the exclusive carriers of this toy, with JCPenney offering it in their catalogue. Daily checking with the store, online stores and finally Fisher Price itself told me that the record player acquisition was becoming a dream. Not realizing my level of determination, my daughter told me, "Mom, it's okay, you don't have to get it, I just thought it would be nice. Don't worry about it."
Huh, me not worry about it or give up? Really? Not with the blood that flows through my veins.
I wrote down all the contact information for the Target stores within 130 miles. I continued the web-search for JCPenney's availability. No luck. Getting people on the phone, netted me only a lot of, "I'm sorry Ma'am, but I don't know when or if we will be getting any more." Fisher Price factory wouldn't sell me one, because it was a store exclusive. Rolling up my sleeves, I went down the contact list once more Thursday morning. Finally, I hit pay dirt. I called a distant (hundred miles away)Target store and the girl said they had three. Would she hold one for a couple of hours, until I could get there? "No, Ma'am, not this time of the year." Really? I kept my cool as I asked for the manager; which she was and still no sympathy. Finally, a little pleading and, "I'll make an exception, but if you're not here by five, it's going back on the shelf." No problem.
Thank Goodness for Gypsy (GPS), because I didn't know the way to this town/Target. Some of the roads I traveled were out in the middle of nowhere, barren landscape except for highway memorials with faded flowers and signs warning me not to pick up hitchhikers (because there were prisons nearby.) A few hours later, I approached the Target office and when the girl behind the counter asked me, "So you really drove all the way to get this record player?" I smiled and said, "Yep and batteries, too."
When I arrived at daughter's and she hugged the record player, she crooned, "It's just like I remembered." The happiness radiating from her eyes reminded me of the joy I saw when she was little and her daddy hung the moon by winning the unattainable doll. Maybe she's not a kid anymore, but the little girl is still alive deep in her heart and mine.