I slowly wandered throughout the store eventually making my way to the very last corner. I found myself looking at just about everything this beautiful gift shop had to offer. Section upon section of wonderful items were displayed in a variety of ways. Each vignette was carefully orchestrated in a pleasing and tasteful way to showcase the items for sale. I enjoyed my entire pilgrimage throughout the store.
As I neared the back corner, I was greeted with several colorful signs inviting me to the closeout and sale section of the store. For those of you who know me personally, it is no secret I love a bargain!
It was a small section separated from the main part of the store with a variety of strategically placed shelving units. There were no gorgeous displays or groupings of any kind. It didn’t take me long to realize this was a place where things that hadn’t sold or were broken and mismatched were placed. It was their final stop before being carted off to a less perfect environment or, worse yet, being thrown away.
I perused the first group of shelves and was greeted by something representing every season in the year. I saw a gorgeous ceramic bunny that had at some point lost one of its ears. Try as she might to securely hold her bonnet in place, she was losing the battle having just one ear. I felt sorry for her as I walked a little further down the aisle.
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Jack-o-lanterns of every size and shape were huddled on the floor. Each one had a scar or blemish, but I personally think they weren’t as worried about their dings and scratches as they were the mean looking witch that hovered above them. She had lost her broom, but still attempted to fly without it.
Broken dishes, one-of-a-kind glasses and Christmas ornaments that had seen better days filled the disheveled shelves. I had to be careful where I stepped for fear of crunching something that had found its way to the floor. Like the carnage left from a recent battle, it was difficult to look at. Once beautiful and in their prime, their lives were cut short by some mishap.
As I turned to exit, high atop a shelf something caught my eye. There, standing in a pile of broken figurines, was a Santa who begged me to take a closer look. I reached for him, forcing the dust that had collected on and around him to scatter. I brushed off his face to see him more clearly.
The twinkle had all but gone from his eyes but there was something about him that intrigued me. He was made of paper mache that had been wrapped in a foil-like material. The more grime I wiped away, the more luminous he became. There was no doubt he had proudly glowed at one time. The patina of the top of his hat appeared to have been peeled away by something or someone. It couldn’t have been at a more noticeable place.
As I stared at him, I began to wonder how I could possibly attempt to restore him to his once-regal self. The truth is, I didn’t know if I could. What I did know was that he was going home with me instead of into a trash bin.
“What are you going to do with this guy?” the clerk at the counter asked with surprise in her voice. “I’m going to rescue him,” I confidently said. “Good luck!” she replied. I paid her and she wrapped my Santa in paper and put him in a bag.
The other day when I was trying to come up with a new and creative centerpiece for our dining room table, I remembered the Santa I had purchased weeks before. I retrieved him and once again immediately saw his scar. I ran to my studio, grabbing some brushes and paints, and carefully blended the colors to conceal his imperfections.
Now he sits proudly in the center of our dining room table with a gold tree filled with antique glass ornaments. When I finished the table and stood back to take a look, it took my breath away. From a dusty sale room to a gorgeous centerpiece, he had traveled a long way. The difference was amazing.
Looking at the Santa I couldn’t help but think of people who are never allowed to shine because of their blemishes or surroundings. Sometimes all it takes for someone to come alive is to be rescued and moved to the right place.
As the holiday season is in full swing around us, may we all be more conscious of those in need of being rescued. Who knows? We may be just the person with the power to make a difference. Now that’s the spirit of Christmas!
MORE WITH MARK
Check out Mark’s website at www.markballard.com, for his latest Christmas merchandise, recipes, prints, cards and his collectible porcelain plates.
Send your questions or comments for Mark Ballard to P.O. Box 4232, Macon, GA 31208; call Contact Mark Ballard at 478-757-6877; email to firstname.lastname@example.org; or become a subscriber to Mark’s Facebook page.