For 12 or 13 years in a row, Aaron and I go Christmas shopping together.    Christmas shopping was always torture for me prior to this yearly shopping trip.  I couldn’t take the kids to shop for my wife because they can’t keep their little mouths shut.  If I tell them NOT to tell their mother, that is the first thing they do when they walk through the door.  So I would trudge through the crowds like a mindless zombie looking for the elusive brain.  Never confident in my choices because her list always includes the phrase, “lots of surprises”.  I’ve more than once thought about wrapping a box with all manner of LIVE creepy things including plenty of spiders.  Can’t you imagine the excitement of unwrapping a gift like that?  “Surprised?!?”  (As she screams and runs away.)

Anyway Aaron suggested we shop for our wives together and for once in my life…shopping was fun.  We laughed, we plotted gag gifts for our spouses, we speed walked through crowds, we entertained people with silliness.

One of the best gag gifts was a hound dog embroidered purse for Tina.  It was a truly hideous, monstrously large bag, that was as in style as a mullet painted like a rebel flag.  The look on her face when she opened that gift was worth all the Goodwill visits to find it.  That purse was so ugly that it literally took her breath away.  I tried to play it up by asking with expectancy, “Do you like it?”.  Few times in our marriage have I seen this poised woman squirm in a completely awkward situation, this was one of those times.

“There’s more look inside.”

Hidden in that bag was the real gift, a very nice appropriately sized leather purse.  The relief that washed over her was palatable.  The nervous laugh was replaced with threats to “get me back”.

2015-02-14 13.48.33Most of you don’t know that Aaron is something of an athlete.  Sure you look at him and see a pencil armed middle aged man but he is more than that.  Place Aaron in a huge Christmas crowd and testosterone fires through his body and the athlete emerges.  He is without reservation, the best crowd speed walker I’ve ever seen.  Everything above his waist becomes immoveable, as a single unit.  His arms are tucked to his side like an awkward  middle school boy who is unsure what to do with these long appendages that hang from his shoulders.  This unorthodox approach helps Aaron slice through a crowd like a knife goes through a low fat butter spread.  While the top part of his body is rigid, his feet and legs are lightning.  Darting between and amid the crowd through people gaps that seem impossible small.  Yet he does it!  To see Aaron speed walk through the Christmas throngs is like seeing an eagle soar above a snowy mountain top.  Watch in awe

If you’re in the Castleton area and you see two grown men laughing and running through the crowd don’t dismiss them as crazy.  Look and learn my friend, look and learn.

Written by Ron Cloer