I look forward to seeing the Salvation Army bell ringers every year. Really. This year, they were much more creative by us. At our local grocery store, we saw 3 girls from the high school singing Christmas carols and having a grand time. Another trip gave us the joy of hearing a man who had brought his electric guitar and a small amp, and was playing music by the bucket.
Most of the bell ringers smile at us and one even let my daughter ring the bell. I have coins with me all during the holiday season, so we can put money in every bucket we pass.
I remember when I was in high school and I was sort of embarrassed by the bell ringing. I felt bad if I didn’t put anything in and it was always awkward for me. But what wasn’t awkward when I was 17?
Then my dad started ringing the bell. I think I was in college at the time. I remember him telling me when he was going off to ring it, but I wasn’t in town and couldn’t go. For several years, I wanted to surprise him with hot chocolate and company during his shift. I think I managed to once. It’s a very vague memory, but I hope it’s real and not just the illusion of what I wanted. I hope I showed up for him and let him know how proud I was of him.
I think of him every time I see a bell ringer. One of these days, I am not going to be able to contain myself and I am finally going to tell a complete stranger ringing that bell, that the quarter I am putting in is for my dad.