Biographical Non-Fiction posted January 6, 2023

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Days before Christmas.

The Bells


Working at a pharmacy, you see all kinds of people.  Those who are sick with diseases, people who come over from the near by urgent care.  You see addicts desperately trying to stay clean.  Then there are those, on their self-made road to destruction, trying to get syringes for their "grandma" who left her diabetic supplies at home.  
After a while, you get jaded.  You can spot the addicts.  Most will try to chat you up like you're their new best friend.  And they'll pace.  For some reason, they just can't stand still.  Or someone will come in and dump all of their problems on you.  You want to care, but after a while, it starts to eat away at your emotional well being.  
I check the obituaries every morning looking for customers who have passed unexpectedly.  Sometimes the names you see will make you sad, and sometimes you just break down. 
The week before Christmas, two of our sweetest customers passed away.  They had both been in a few days before.  That saying, "here today, gone tomorrow",came to mind.
So, I was down that day.  I wondered why God couldn't wait until after Christmas to call folks home.  The last thing I wanted to do was wait on customers.  But we were busy.
I'm scanning a package to go out with UPS when I hear some jingle bells.  I finish with the package and really listen.  There it is again.  
A lady comes to the counter, with her a little girl of about seven years old.  The little girl has Downs Syndrome.   She's wearing a necklace with some small silver jingle bells on it.  She looks shyly at me and shakes them.
"Ho ho ho," she says.
"Are you Santa's helper?" I ask.
She shakes head. "I'm Eloise."
"I like your bells."
"I do, too."  She really starts ringing the bells. 
Other customers look over, most smile or laugh.  One tiny bird of a lady just starts belting out the song Jingle Bells.  Eloise grins and joins in.  
I feel that darkness that had enveloped me begin to fall away.
I hummed that song for the rest of the day, long after the little bird like lady had gone home and after Eloise had left with her mother.  
Eloise and the little bird lady brought me joy just when I needed it most.  Sometimes, when the sadness of life is almost unbearable, all it takes is one small spark of happiness that someone shares.  And it may not change what's happened, but it is reassurance that life goes on.


This happened on December 22nd. Some of the smallest moments in life are just plain magical.
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