Rural Living

It's a Wrap!

Tying Up 2012 With Old Boxes and New Shoes


by Margo Oxendine, Contributing Writer


Margo Oxendine

It’s November, and the holidays are staring us in the face. More about that in a minute.

Since this is the last issue of the year, I want to do some wrapping up; to me, that is far preferable to wrapping presents.

Oops. I feel another tangent intruding. Here we go! It has to do with wrapping presents. I really, really do not like it. I do not like anything I am not good at, such as playing sports, assembling things, and wrapping presents.

Thank God for those nifty gift bags you can find everywhere nowadays. They have greatly improved my gift-giving skills. Buy lots of tissue in sparkly fun colors, place it around the gift, insert it in the bag, cram in some more gay tissue and, voila, your gift is wrapped. As an added advantage, the gift bags can be used over and over again. My sister and I have gift bags we have passed back and forth for probably a decade now.

My sister is the consummate gift-wrapper; the kind of woman who actually uses real paper in a big roll, carefully and perfectly cut and folded with the edges sharp and just so. She is able to take a spool of ribbon and create wonderful bows and curlicues. I, on the other hand, am the type who just slaps on one of those bows that have the sticky stuff on the bottom. And if those bows have been used before, well, I do not feel guilty about putting a piece of tape across the bottom and calling it quits.

Is your family one of those who carefully unwraps gifts and then saves the paper for another go-round? Ours was. My mother grew up quite poor, during the Depression. If there was something that could be re-used or re-purposed or recycled in some way, she would do that, bless her dear heart. She even washed out plastic food bags and hung them on the line to dry, even when we had more than enough money to buy brand new Ziploc bags.

I was always embarrassed by this, but today, I find myself rinsing out plastic bags and using them again. We do, indeed, become our mothers. And that, in my opinion, is something to which I should always aspire.

On Christmas morning, we’d always hear, “Oh, that paper is so pretty! Don’t tear it! We’ll use it again!”

There is a small, gaily colored Christmas-themed box in which, I think, a scarf first appeared in 1965. Believe it or not, that same box is still passed back and forth between my sister and I. Last year, we couldn’t find it. We felt a little sad. Months later, my sister called and said, “I found the Christmas box!” We both rejoiced.

While I’m thinking about Christmas, I must tell you the most poignant Christmas story in my family. The year Mom died, in September 2005, neither my sister nor I looked forward to Christmas. But Kathy had a secret: She’d found packages in the back of Mom’s closet. So, on a sad Christmas morning, she waited until the very end, and then disappeared for a moment. She returned with wrapped Christmas presents for each of us from our mother. It brings tears to my eyes right now to think of it. Did Mom somehow know? Who buys and wraps Christmas presents in August? Well, that would be my beloved late mother.

Now, on to a happy ending that has nothing to do with Christmas. Remember my October column, wherein I whined and clamored for attractive orthopedic shoes? I have heard from several ladies who feel the same as I: We do not want and will not wear ugly black oxfords!

Rejoice, ladies; I have found the most fabulous orthopedic shoes in the world! They are from a company called Alegria (just Google Alegria shoes; and no, I am not a paid shill for them). They come in a myriad rainbow of colors and designs and patterns. They feel great! They fit anyone, even my wide, high-instep self, who always has to hammer a nail into the strap to get it to fit across my foot!

I have two pairs and I “need” two more. Then, I believe, my shoe-buying days will be over. Who knew?

Put them on your Christmas list; or just buy them for yourself right away.

Here’s hoping you have a happy, high-stepping holiday season!



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