good elves in Dallas

God knows what he is doing.  I have a good story from this weekend in my head, and until it gets committed to paper (or pixels) it will continue to percolate at the front of my mind.  God knows this about me and He knows that I needed to keep those highlights from the weekend active in my mind for at least another day.

He knew that I would need the encouragement those memories bring. Monday was a rough day.  The diagnosis of h1N1 for Martin was a shock and then his best job prospect fell through. But the weekend held a bright shining memory that helps a great deal.

What is that memory?

Was it the friend who got up about 5 hours before his normal time to drive me to my work on a Friday so that Martin and Ginny could pack the car and come get me on their way to the airport.  Nope.  Though that was very kind and it was a huge help logistically.

Was it the gorgeous wedding we attended with family? Nope.

Was it the cow moooooooo-ing at just the right time to crack up the tearful bride and groom? Nope.

Was it the nice ticket counter lady who told me I had to get rid of 7 pounds of stuff out of my luggage and then changed her mind and made it only two pounds?  Nope.  Though that was very nice of her.  She must have seen the desperation in my eyes.  Both our suitcase and carry-on were stuffed full on the way out to Dallas, and when family added some books for Ginny to take home and our tax attorney added Martin’s tax packet….well it put us over the mark.  I (quite calmly I might add) asked how much the overage charge would be and then I staggered a bit when she said “$90”  I seriously considered at that point which clothing items just weren’t going to make it home.  But she helped us re-arrange some stuff and let us get away with a little bit of overage when she saw how stuffed even our carry-on and diaper bag were.  By the way, as much as we love gifts from family, please just mail them to us.

But even that nice act by the ticket counter lady was not the one that made my weekend.

First of all, understand that even when “dolled-up” I feel like a cow surrounded by fleet footed deer when I am in Dallas.  I am overweight, yes.  But I’m not grossly overweight and I am working on it.  But the women who live in down town Dallas are almost ethereal.  Elven. Tall. Elegant.  Around them, I feel dumpy and frumpy.  Even when I dress up.

On Sunday, I wasn’t dressed up.  I had on a t-shirt, jeans, boots and no make-up.  We were having to skip church because Martin wasn’t feeling well, and we had a ripped suitcase to replace.

Our luggage preference is cheap.  It is going to get roughed up and we don’t want to cry too much when it happens, so we tend to go cheap and easily replaceable.  Imagine our delight a few years ago when we found a cheap luggage set in Texas Burnt Orange !  Not only is it a great team color, but it stands out at baggage claim.  We have never had to hunt for our bags.  We can see them from across a room.  Yup, that’s us.  The only time we had trouble was once when we were flying right around Rose Bowl weekend a few years back.  That day we had one or two other Burnt Orange sets to contend with.


We now have a ripped piece of luggage that we have to replace in order to get back to Atlanta.  We want it to be burnt orange.  And we are on the ground in Texas!  Cool, this should be easy……right?


Macy’s…….they look at us funny.  “you want what color?”

Dillard’s…… nope.  Perhaps you should check the specialty stores.  The expensive ones, across the street.  Or maybe Neiman Marcus on the other side of the mall.

You are kidding right?  We got the original set at the Macy’s in Atlanta, GEORGIA for crying in a bucket.  Home of the Jackets and the Bulldogs.  This is Texas, home of Texas Tech, Aggies and Longhorns!  How can it be impossible to find Burnt Orange luggage?  It doesn’t even need to have the longhorns logo on it, just be burnt orange.

I should mention at this point that when we pulled up to the mall Ginny was asleep.  Her naps had been getting interrupted all weekend, so Martin decided that he was not going to wake her up if he didn’t have to.  We figured we were just going into Macy’s, get the bag and come out.  So he heroically sacrificed his back to lift Ginny IN HER CAR SEAT/CARRIER.  Yes it has a handle.  And yes you CAN carry a snoozing infant in it.  But once your child reaches the 20 pound toddler stage this act of love can be torture to the adult doing the carrying.  But he did it.  All through Macys, Dillards, down the length of the mall twice.  I tried to help.  We carried it together for a bit.  But mall pedestrians don’t seem to want to make room for two people with a child carried between them.  We were too wide a load for the walking paths.  So Martin did most of the heavy lifting.

After we gave up on the mall and were heading out, Ginny woke up, so one trip through the mall got to be with Ginny in Martin’s arms.  But for the better part of an hour, he carried her.  Safe, and soundly sleeping while mommy and daddy shopped for the elusive wild Texas  Orange bag.

At this point we just gave up, looked at each other and said, fine. We’ll go to Target and get a cheap bag and be done with this mess.  We no longer cared what color it was, just so long as it was cheap.  And big enough to handle all our stuff.

Piece of advice here – in Dallas, when driving along a highway looking for a sign for oh say, a Target for instance, you will see the signs.  But you will be unable to get there.  You will have to travel  three miles past the sign, get off on an exit, turn around, ride the access road…..and see a Wal-mart. Hey, let’s just go there.

We park. We enter the Wal-Mart.  Martin is holding the baby who has just awakened from a nap,  and I notice she is covered in banana from her breakfast.  We are both flushed, disheveled and not dressed well to begin with.  We really didn’t look reputable.  But we found a big black bag.  Cheap.  Yay.

Grab the bag, walk to the front checkout area.  Stand in line behind a tiny, well dressed, thin, coifed, bejeweled, Dallas Lady (don’t ask me what she was doing in Wal-Mart on a Sunday morning – I have no idea).  The manicure was perfect, the make-up was perfect.

Her groceries were numerous.  They filled the conveyor belt.

She looks at us.  White trash-appearing couple holding a banana covered toddler and a large black suitcase.

She looked at us……and Smiled.

Then she quietly said to the cashier “please let them go in front of me, they won’t take long”

She hadn’t even given us the opportunity to politely refuse her kindness.

I nearly cried.

I hadn’t been resenting her being in front of me.  I was too tired to even care.

Or so I thought.  She smiled at us.

And I asked “are you sure?”

She nodded.

“oh God bless you sweet lady, thank you”

We checked out.  We smiled at her, Ginny waved bye bye. And I called out “thank you again!” as we left the store.

Smiling from ear to ear.


4 thoughts on “good elves in Dallas

  1. I had a similar experience with luggage weight. I think it may have been the last time that I checked luggage. I ended up tying my running shoes together and wearing them for a necklace.

    They wouldn’t fit in my carry-on, and my hands were full of carry on and laptop.

    One of the minor advantages of a child-free lifestyle. I was able to go carry-on only and no longer check luggage, at least for business and study travel.

    We try to only check one bag so it is stuffed very full. Which is why I looked so hopelessly at the lady when she said something would have to go…go where?


  2. I can’t even imagine air travel with a baby/toddler.

    I now have a passionate loathing for H1N1. I hope very much that Martin gets excellent treatment and that his case is mild and swift. I will be sending hopeful thoughts and prayers ya’ll’s way.

    Air travel with a baby is not as bad as you would think. You just have to strip your “KIT” down to the absolute basics.
    And prayers for the rest of our family are encouraged as well. My mom is starting to get sick and I’m feeling really …weird today.


  3. Hey Deirdre,

    Your recount of the weekend was interesting to read. I know about those Dallas/Fort Worth access roads, craziest thing! I hope Martin feels better soon, and that you and Ginny don’t get sick either. I hope all is well with you today,




  4. Sometimes it’s the simplest act of kindness that makes the biggest difference, isn’t it?
    What a blessing to have been behind that lovely lady. *grin*
    I’m going to try to remember this story the next time I’m at the store with a full cart and the person behind me has something small. Let ’em go through!


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