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Posts tagged: salvation army

One Little Bell


     Standing just beside the front door of the busy store, bundled up to stay warm in weather that has turned brutal over night, she sees all kinds of people in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
    She sees the ones who are determined, who get there early, walking up to the door with a purposeful stride. They’ve got a list. A timeline. A budget. They’re in charge.

    She can tell who is just out for the fun of it,  happy to listen to canned carols playing over the sound system. Feeding off the energy of the crowd and the season. Bargain hunting as a sport.

    She watches the children in hats and mittens, along for the ride, holding onto a parent’s hand, being pulled along as they dawdle, stopping to stare at the Christmas displays, or to peer into the shiny red kettle in front of her as they drop in a coin.
    She sees the others; the ones who are tightlipped with worry. Who carry purses and wallets that don’t hold near enough to buy what they’d hoped to get. Those who don’t have enough for what they need; forget about the extras. They walk into the store like tired soldiers heading into a battle. Already outgunned and out of ammunition.

     She stands there, ringing the bell, shifting her weight from foot to foot trying to stay warm, watching us all come and go…
  

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About this blog

Cheryl-Anne Millsap's Home Planet column appears each week in the Wednesday "Pinch" supplement. Cheryl-Anne is a regular contributor to Spokane Public Radio and her essays can be heard on Public Radio stations across the country. She is the author of "Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons."

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