This afternoon I was leaving Walmart with [what I hope will be] the last of my Christmas shopping. Being the good environmentally conscious person that I am, I had brought with me a few reusable shopping bags. I only ended up needing one for my purchases, and the other three were left to lay empty on a stack of boxes in my cart.
Our Walmart faces east, which means there is a south-north corridor for cars to drive on in front of the store. Today, it being Iowa after all, there was a stiff wind coming from the south, heading north.
As I stepped through the second set of automatic doors, that stiff wind caught my three empty shopping bags like kites and carried them out of my cart and away from me-- north.
If I had had time to think, my thoughts would have been something like this: "Ahh! Gahh! Do I stay with the cart? Or do I run after my bags? What if a car comes?"
But I didn't have time to think, so this is what I did: I let go of my cart for briefly and lunged at the closest bag. A lady who followed me out of Walmart grabbed the second bag, a little farther away than the first. I thanked her quickly and turned to look for the third bag, an orange one.
It was on a mission, with a motto that said something like, "The Arctic, or bust." I considered the quickly shrinking orange tumbleweed for a moment and decided it was worth the bruising of my pride to go after it. It was my only orange reusable shopping bag, after all.
I twisted my cart to face north and started lumbering as quickly as I could up the asphalt corridor. I noticed almost immediately that someone was running next to me. Glancing to the left, I saw, with bell in hand, the Salvation Army bell ringer, jogging like he was on a mission too. A grin creased well-worn laughter wrinkles on his face, as he turned to glance at me, and he sped up.
"I'm gaining on it!" he shouted to me over his shoulder.
And he was. Before long he caught it. By then I was no longer embarrassed but was laughing. He returned my bag to me victoriously and then headed back to his bell ringing post, ting-a-linging boisterously.
If there was ever something to put me into the Christmas mood, it was seeing that bell ringer laugh as he chased down my shopping bag.