5. Let There Be Light

5. Let There Be Light

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Merry Christmas!

Let There Be Light

A woman is helpless only while her nail polish is drying.

~Author Unknown

It is the day after Thanksgiving and merchants are opening their stores early with enticing bargains for eager shoppers. My alarm sounds around 4:15 a.m. I push my snooze button twice and then I reluctantly get dressed for my quick trip to Home Depot to buy a Martha Stewart pre-lit tree. It is twenty-five degrees and dark. I’m sipping my instant coffee while driving to my desired destination. My husband is not with me and this is no accident.

I arrive at Home Depot at 5:15 a.m., walk in and ask where the $69 Martha Stewart trees are located. As I walk toward them, someone is picking up the last boxed tree. I’m visibly despondent and the sales guy says I can have the one on display. This seems good as I can watch him disassemble it and hopefully remember how to put it back together. He helps me load it in my Prius and all is well… for now….

After lunch I decide to tackle the tree assembly. My husband is gone… this is no accident.

I make four trips to the car to get the pieces. I assemble the tree, getting hit left and right by branches. Looks good! All seems well. As I reach to plug in the tree, I notice there is no plug. I search all over the house and car, but still find no plug. I call Home Depot and the customer service representative says she will connect me with the Christmas tree department. For ten minutes I listen to canned music and then I hear a live voice… oh joy! But my happiness is diminished as I realize it is the same customer service person I spoke to earlier. She assures me I will get help this time. Sure enough, after four minutes I finally speak to a guy who doesn’t seem to understand what I’m talking about. I share the story of my early morning purchase with him. I’m thinking he may have dozed off because he asked me if I checked the box. I remind him there was no box. He “says” he has looked around and sees no extra plug. He assures me I can get a refund. After all, what good is a Martha Stewart pre-lit tree with no working lights?

I disassemble the tree and make four trips to the car to load it. My husband is absent… this is no accident. With receipt in hand, I’m driving back to Home Depot… all is well for now… a refund is in sight.

I arrive at Home Depot and leave the tree in the car. As I walk in with the receipt, I’m greeted by two employees who cheerfully ask how I’m doing. I tell them I am sad as I purchased a tree and assembled it only to discover that it has no wall plug. They look puzzled, so I go through my story once again and then explain I need a flat cart to load the tree.

One of the employees says we should look in the tree area for an extra electrical plug thingy. He walks over twenty feet, pats a shelf and pulls a plug from a box. It “looks” like it should be a match. Am I going to drive back home with it? I don’t think so. This guy offers to go to my car and check it. I open the trunk, and he attaches it to the wire as easily as the famed prince put the glass slipper on Cinderella. I thank him repeatedly and drive off. all is well for now. of course I’ve had this feeling before.

I arrive home and make four trips to unload the tree. My husband is not home… this is no accident.

I assemble the tree, getting hit and smacked by branches. I plug the tree into the outlet and yes, it is working. except for the top tier. After a jiggle to the top of the tree, the lighting is complete and working! I have the choice of white or multicolored lights. I collapse into a chair to admire the effect.

Only now does my husband walk in… and this is no accident.

~Cindy Willimon Fricks

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