Monday, December 14, 2015

Shopping with Ruby

Standing in the checkout line with Jilda at Tractor Supply last week I learned something about myself I’d never realized. As we waited our turn, she held up last-minute gift ideas for kids. After holding up two or three stuffed animals and getting the same blank look from me, she said, “I miss my mom because she was FUN to shop with.”

The round dented the shopping armor I routinely wear during the Christmas season.

“I’m no fun to shop with?” I said in a hurt tone, with a little bit of a dejected curl on my bottom lip. “Please! You should just give me all the credit cards and go sit in the car.”

The man standing behind us got a good chuckle out of that. I glanced back at him with my best “We husbands must stick together look” and he just grinned and shrugged his shoulders. Wife -1 the Rickster - 0.

As we were leaving, Jilda said we need to run by Hobby Lobby. I said loud enough for the gentleman
behind me to hear, “I’ll go, but I won’t be any fun.” The guy snorted with laughter and the cashier joined in the merriment.

After we bought all the gifts we’d come to buy, we headed out to get some lunch and I thought back at all those years I had to work and Jilda went Christmas shopping with her mom.

They spent days going to every store in the area in search of the perfect gifts for every child, grandchild, and great-grandchild. They’d walk down aisles holding up tiny dresses, fire trucks, puzzles, and books. Each item was evaluated to make sure it was the perfect gift.

Every trip included lunch where they sat in booths glowing, absorbing the ambiance of Christmas.

When I got home on those evenings, every surface in our spare bedroom would be covered with gifts. Jilda would start at one end, unbox and hold up every gift and describe who it was for and why it wound up in the Christmas buggy.

She would not only tell me everywhere they went but who all they saw along the way and what they had for lunch. I could close my eyes and smell the warm cinnamon rolls and the aroma of the coffee they had for dessert.

This was a routine repeated every year. The first few times I only listened to the recap out of a sense of Christmas duty. But as the years passed, it became clear how much Jilda loved shopping with her mom.

They always had fun. And hearing her give the play by play became something I enjoyed too.

After our shopping trip last week, we ran by the cemetery to put Christmas holly on the graves of our parents. I stood nearby as Jilda knelt by her mom’s grave and tied a Christmas ribbon around the arrangement. I wish Ruby had been there with us Christmas shopping. And then as I remembered the gentleman laughing with us in the line at Tractor Supply, I’d like to think Ruby was laughing along with us.


  1. This touches me....
    Beautifully written.
    Thank you.

  2. Anonymous8:53 PM

    I'm sure Ruby laughed!!

  3. Extremely moving. My wife loved shopping with her mother, and like you I've been told on more than one occasion that I'm no fun to shop with.

  4. It is a proven fact that 96% f ll men hate to shop. The other 4% are liars.

    Very nice post!

  5. What beautiful memory for both of you.

  6. Truly a very heart touching post. I'm sure she is there too !

  7. Blessed are the women because they make the economy grow with all their shopping...
    I enjoyed reading this touching post.
    Have a great day.

  8. I loved this story! I could picture you at the register and the man behind you. Men and shopping can be fun to watch.

  9. This choked me up, made me think of my mum who I talk to each night


  10. Jackie, the first commenter is right. However you do know how to describe the Man's side of shopping. The ladies get a kick out of shopping that WE do not know. But you said something that hits home, Sherry did a lot of shopping while I was out to sea or some other crazy quest of mine.
    Well written as always.

  11. I wanted to say, I can see you adding some humor to the situation, and also, Jilda had a beautiful mother.


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