It’s not what you think. It is not about the long line (it was a long line but an employee was offering Hershey’s chocolates to sweeten the minutes); it is not about the half-hearted attempts to visually represent Christmas without really representing Christmas (the employees tried). This is about a serendipitous happening, a joyous, whacky, and meaningful interchange between four strangers who a half hour later had become fast friends.
Carrie is a grad student from Pittsburgh. Carol, Mary Ann, and I are grandmothers. We four stood in line today, eyeing the clock. I don’t know how the conversation started; I entered midstream. Apparently Carol had asked if Carrie had found a church, which I think took courage in this wide-open, largely non-churched town. Then Carol looked at me and said, “Don’t you go to First Pres?” From there we whipped into frenzy of church suggestions for Carrie. Mary Ann was best at this, for she, like Carrie, is a Catholic. Much laughter, happy voices sharing; did the rest of the post office crowd hear, or care?
Still in the line, we barely knew when we moved up. Never have I enjoyed waiting so much.
Now the conversation shifted to the movie “A Christmas Story,” featuring a boy’s deep desire for a red air rifle. How crazy was this? I was the only one of the four who hadn’t seen it, and I began to think my boys with their long-ago BB gun fixation should see it, and my husband as well, for he keeps one of those rifles by the back door to discourage raccoons, foxes…(don’t share this in our animal-glorifying town). Carol whipped the DVD out of her purse for she had bought it this very morning, before her daughter reported they already had it. “Do you want it?,” she asked me, half joking.
Carrie, the grad student, has to be both the most polite and real young woman I’ve met in a long time. She hid her shock at being almost swallowed by three gray-haired women, willingly shared our conversation. Was she simply caught? No, I don’t think so.
I now have three new friends. We are four who love Jesus, as Carol so succinctly expressed. Will we meet at the post office again? Heaven, perhaps?
A half hour packed with laughter and love, with a movie purchase for a bonus. I’m going to watch it with my grandchildren.