Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas 2009

Early in November, you might recall, I made several Facebook status updates about going to see The Pioneer Woman at a book signing. You could say I'm a fan, but that would be an understatement. I had high hopes, and anticipated a glorious evening meeting her up close. Alas, it was not to happen. A huge crowd had gathered, the store ran out of books long before I could get there, and the line was so long that there was no way I could stay to the end—we had already waited 2 hours, and the signing hadn’t even started. It was already long past my kiddos' bedtime, and my sweet husband who rearranged his work schedule to bring me, had to get up very early the next day. I was distraught—again, putting it mildly. I hated that I had wasted what few precious hours we have as a family to drive miles we can't afford—to walk away empty-handed. My heart was broken.

Today a packaged arrived in the mail. It was for me—odd, I thought, despite it being Christmas I wasn't expecting anything. There was a wrapped gift, and a card—the envelope read "Tamara—Make sure you read all of this before you open the present. (Also, if you ever find yourself in the presence of a cat while holding a singing greeting card...hilarity!) Merry Christmas” The handwriting was vaguely familiar, but it wasn’t signed—I had no idea who this was from. My husband taunted that he knew, but wasn’t telling. Of course, I wanted to open it immediately, but my mother and husband told me I had to wait. *grrr*

The day wore on, and by wore on—I do mean WORE on. It’s been a hard day week month last two years. Tonight though, wow, the kids everything was really taking me down. The knitting project that was supposed to be for Eden’s birthday, and now for Christmas, is still proving to be a challenge (definitely won’t be done for this Christmas), and the kids were testing the limits of mommy’s patience sanity.I made several attempts to change my scrooge attitude—attempted a gingerbread house decorating with two kids. I’ll let you imagine how that went (& post pictures later). When Matt returned from work, I sat down with him and the kids for a movie, hot tea, and some snacks. I tried calmly to put the kids to bed. Unfortunately, I was thwarted at every attempt. The angry demon beast that lives in my belly bit anyone who crossed me. I growled and snarled. It wasn’t pretty, and definitely not remotely what I dream of a perfect Christmas Eve (or even a somewhat, just a wee bit nice Christmas Eve should be).
After the kids were settled still screaming, but in their beds, I had had enough—I needed something to make this madness stop. I ran to the Christmas tree, and grabbed that mysterious package. I tore open the envelope (it was in fact, a singing card—Charlie Brown Christmas—if you must know). There was also a two page, hand-written letter. Geez, who takes the time to do that anymore, I thought. This is too crazy. I began to read. It was the story of my not-to-be-had evening with The Pioneer Woman, but this story had a different ending…

“…A few weeks later, a friend of Tamara’s was at work dealing with one crabby customer after another. There were so many grouches, in fact, that her friend was wondering if there were any more kind people left in Oklahoma City. Just then, a cowboy wandered by looking for The Pioneer Woman Cooks—two copies, in fact. As the disillusioned Bookseller walked him over to the cookbooks, she recounted Tamara’s sorrowful tale. When she finished the story, the most extraordinary thing happened: The cowboy turned and said, ‘Well, The Pioneer Woman is my cousin. Why don’t you buy a copy, and I’ll take it too her. I’m headed up to the ranch right now.’ After a brief moment of dumbfounded paralysis she snapped into action. The next day, when she returned to work, the book was waiting for her. Not only had the anonymous cowboy gotten it signed, he took a picture of the author as she signed it!! Suddenly the Bookseller was reminded of something easily forgotten when faced with so many mean, nasty people: most people are kind and some people raise kindness to an art form. Thank you, God, for the anonymous cowboy. Please help me live by his example. Thank you, God, for my friend Tamara without whom I would never have encountered such a kind man.”
I ripped open the package—sure enough, a signed copy of The Pioneer Woman Cooks—autographed to ME! AND the aforementioned photograph! The blood drained from my face, my heart swelled, and I was overwhelmed. I wept and wept and wept. My husband walked in and saw the book, the letter, and me. He rested his hands on my shoulders.

“I’m a horrible person, who doesn’t deserve the wonderfulness that surrounds me,” I said.
“No, you’re a wonderful person, who too often bears the horribleness of this world,” he said.

After that I went to my sweet daughter’s room where she was still crying. I swept her up in my arms, sat down in the rocker, and began to sing love songs to Jesus. Her precious eyes closed, and within minutes she was soundly, peacefully sleeping.
Thank you, my friend, you made my grinch heart grow so big tonight & restored so much hurt that had cut it down to pieces. God bless you, and your family…and that cowboy. Merry Christmas.


1 comment:

Jenn @ Munchkin Land said...

Love this story Tamara! Beautiful! Redemption in its best form. =)