Marilyn has been doing battle with UPS for two days about Christmas packages lost in transit. It’s been frustrating and not especially funny Abbott and Costello 48 hours for Marilyn. Her frustration gets transferred to me because I can’t help. It finally got sorted out, but it left us tired and not feeling that holiday spirit.


Add that we’re under siege from “what’s going around,”and trying to fend off another of the endless colds that leaves us grumbling and grumpy. Now, factor in the latest comic strip news from President-elect Orange Head. Not surprisingly, we are bummed out and wishing the holidays were over before they have entirely begun.

Is there no silver lining?


Bleak thoughts were racing through my head as I made a deli run to pick up a few items. I flashed a smile to the friendly lady at the counter. Civility is a must even if you’re feeling down. I pulled out my card and started to hand it to her.

“Nope, it’s all paid for”, she said, indicating I wouldn’t need my debit card.

I looked around confused.

The gentleman standing next to me smiled and softly said, “Happy Holidays”.

I left the deli, a bit stunned, but smiling. Sometimes, the world surprises you. In a good way.

Author: Garry Armstrong

As a reporter for Channel 7 in Boston for 31 years, I was witness to most of the major events affecting the region. I met a lot of people ... politicians, actors, moguls, criminals and many regular folks caught up in extraordinary situations. Sometimes, I write about the people I've met and places I've been. Sometimes, I write about life, my family, my dogs and me. Or what might otherwise be called Life.


  1. yep, just about the time you wonder about taking one more step and what you might step in, along comes a lovely surprise. that made me smile, too.

    As to UPS, they are our only carrier in this area, unless someone puts a gun to the head of FedEx, and the years of battles we’ve had with them are endless. Our favorite (and best) carrier retired last year, which seems to sound a deathknell for UPS as far as Im concerned: packages delivered to an apple tree, or left in the middle of the driveway, left in the snow, the rain, or unannounced…and when you call, “ma’am, that’s not our problem”. oh yeah.

    Im glad you got it resolved. It does sorta put a crimp in the holiday stocking, though

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And I thought it was just ME. We have found packages in the strangest places, including the ONLY deep puddle in the area. I mean … there’s the red door and a big table right next to it, covered in rubber to keep it from decaying from the rain. And they will still put it under the deck stairs, behind the holly bush. Behind the shed and/or deep in the woods. Buried in any number of snowdrifts. And they have no customer service. It took me HOURS and at least 6 calls to get someone to tell me what was going on. if it hadn’t been so much stuff, i’d probably have just given up.


    2. Judy, I’m still beaming inside about the kindness of that stranger. Since I’m hard of hearing, I’m not sure I heard everything he said in a brief exchange about holiday melancholy. I kept looking at him, trying to figure if he was a neighbor or someone who may have known me from my television years. No connection in that brief encounter. I was wordless. All I could do is smile broadly, pat him on the back and say “Thank you!!”.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve heard about that whole “pay if forward” trend but never, unfortunately, been a recipient. My kids tell stories about going through a drive-through and discovering that the car ahead of them already paid for their order. I think it’s a very nice gesture if you have the money to do that for someone.

    As for the whole Christmas shopping thing, on-line seems to be the way to go these days. But as you point out, on-line shopping also has its drawbacks. What if the package doesn’t arrive on time? What if it gets mis-delivered to the one neighbor with whom you’ve had issues? What if it arrives and the items in it are broken, or not what you ordered in the first place?

    Personally, I’d like to total skip Christmas this year. Bah humbug.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was exactly the conversation Garry was having with that fellow in the deli. They had agreed that it would be so nice to skip the holidays entirely. We don’t do a lot, but it still feel like too much. I used to wonder how people could go away on skiing vacations or cruises over the holidays, but now, boyoboy do I understand!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Cordelia, I guess “pay it forward” is a good take on this anecdote. It’s a reminder to me to brush aside my grumpiness. I usually do in public. I love engaging folks in public. It’s the opposite of my natural shyness.
      The Deli incident just may be my early Christmas present.

      As for Christmas shopping, bah humbug!! Let’s watch “A Christmas Story” and “It’s A Wonderful Life”.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. This has been a pretty ugly year and like many others, we are taking it hard. And it has barely begun. It has totally knocked any festiveness out of us. Christmas has been winding down anyway, but we could usually scratch together a little bit of enthusiasm. This year, not so much.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Eloquent, I agree. The world can surprise you. I guess it’s easier in a small town where we know each other — by face if not name. That’s one of the perks of our small town.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. What a nice gesture and it is the lift that kindness gives you more than the material help. It has been a tough year and it’s harder than usual to find joy in it although I used to love Christmas with all its traditions. I’m still doing the baking and the decorations for my sister and I because to not do it would make it jfeel like ust another day and that would make me feel worse.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We do a little bit. A tabletop tree, a string of lights, a special meal, small (and I do mean small) gifts. And everyone seems okay with it. We are all adults, even my granddaughter. I think it’s different when the kids are really kids. It is an entirely different event.

      Liked by 1 person

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