I start my Christmas shopping on Thursday afternoon - Thanksgiving Day. It's a little tradition that my youngest sister and I have had for a good many years now.
Now granted, there isn't a lot open. In fact, it used to be that the Store-with-the-Big-Load-of-Stuff that noone else wanted was the only one. Now there's a mega-this and a super-that which open up in the afternoon, but the pickin's are still slim.
Despite the fact that other stores now open, we're still fixated on the Sore-with-the-Big-Load-of-Stuff. Mainly because of the Christmas Chicken from about eight years ago. It was about 3 p.m. when we entered the store. It was crowded, with hardly any room to move. After all it was the only game in town.
We picked through some rolls of wrapping paper, looked at the components to a Christmas village and then - we saw it. There on the shelf just above eye level.
I think we locked onto it at about the same time.
First Sis started giggling, then I laughed out loud.
"Do you see that?" she asked.
"I do," I said and lifted it from the shelf.
"Is that a snowman?"
"Riding a chicken?"
It was about 10 or so inches tall. A carved white chicken, with a snowman riding on its back as if it were riding a horse. Both were decked out for the season, the chicken with holly-laced reins and the snowman with the appropriate top hat with a spring of holly in it sitting on its head.
"What do you suppose the person who made this was thinking?"
"Probably wasn't. Must have been into the eggnog in a big way."
I flipped it over to see how much it was - $3.99
"That's kinda high," I said looking it over pretty good, putting it back on the shelf walking away, then going back to gaze at it again.
We couldn't help it. We each bought one and laughed all the way home. My chicken had a place of honor among the Christmas decorations at first, then I took it to work and plopped it on my desk. A conversation piece. Plus, it made me smile.
And then it happened.
I came to work one morning and the chicken was gone.
I searched, I asked around, I scoured the newsroom looking for the jokester who thought it was funny to take my chicken.
But the chicken was nowhere to be found. Obviously someone besides me found the humor in my Christmas chicken and had to have it.
I have since tried to buy my sister's chicken, but so far she has refused to give in.
But every year, when Thanksgiving afternoon rolls around, she and I trek down to the Store-with-the-Big-Load-of-Stuff and scour the shelves. We keep looking for that chicken like a cat that waits for a bird to return to the same limb. It's a little bit nuts, but who knows? Maybe one day we'll find another one. Or maybe I'll sneak up in my sister's attic while she's away and ...
Contact Judy Watts at 873-9424 ext. 220, or email@example.com