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December 25, 2011

Think Kit: Tradition

December 25, 2011

Many, many moons ago, I received a Christmas ornament from a woman named Annie. I was fresh out of college and working as a barista in a busy coffee shop in Chicago. Annie became a regular customer for a few months, though she never once ordered coffee.

Annie's ornament

She visited for the sole purpose of dropping off gifts for anyone working behind the counter. Didn't matter who, she just liked to give presents. Sometimes it was a pack of ramen noodles or a stack of literature picked up in a hotel lobby. One day near Christmas, she gave me this glass ornament she'd bought on clearance at neighboring Anthropologie.

By most accounts, she was a crazy lady. Her husband had passed away, and she shuffled the streets of Chicago in his old clothes, her petite frame swallowed up by an extra large tweed overcoat, boat-sized leather loafers she could barely keep on her feet clopping with each step. Aside from gifting random things to complete strangers, she also burst into unexpected shouting, often of the profane sort. These other things got her cast out of most the businesses in the neighborhood, my old workplace included.

All of her craziness aside, I get inspired by her zest for gift-giving every year. It's become an annual tree-trimming tradition that the first ornament to go up is Annie's. I have no idea what became of her.

This post is part of Think Kit 2011.


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