Birthday Presence

The day has arrived.  My friend Sixty, who has been my constant companion for the past year, is gone.  Just when I had “grown accustomed to her face,” she broke the sad news to me that her friend Syxtie Wunne would soon be taking up residence in her domain.  My, how time flies!

As a favor to Sixty, this morning I decided to paste a smile on my face and welcome Ms. Wunne to the neighborhood.  As I was tying my shoes, I heard the doorbell ring.  I wasn’t ready for company; the house was a bit cluttered.  Ignoring the bell, I continued getting ready to meet the new occupant, but whoever was standing on my doorstep was obviously not going away.  I had to open the door. 

Before I could catch my breath, this commanding presence whisked herself right into the house without even being invited.  To my surprise, she had a stack of brightly wrapped presents in her arms.  Instantly making herself at home, she breezed into the kitchen, got herself a cup of coffee, and casually tossed the gifts onto the table.  “Hi!” she said cheerfully.  “I’m Syxtie Wunne.  I believe Sixty warned you about  me,” she joked. 

“Well, she . . . told me you would be moving in,” I hesitantly responded.  This was so awkward.  I liked to slowly warm up to new people, but she had already been rummaging through my cabinets looking for a mug and asking for Sweet ‘n’ Low.   Who was this person taking over my house?  And what could possibly be in all these boxes she had brought with her?

“I guess you are wondering about these gifts,” she said as she stirred her coffee and asked for a piece of toast.  “I know that today is your birthday, so I brought presents!  Go ahead.  Open them!”  She seemed excited and was completely oblivious to my stunned, “deer in the headlights” stare.  The only thing to do was go ahead and open them.

I sat down across from my “guest” and fumbled with the pink ribbon on the first package, which was very small.  “It’s something you wished for,” she said.  Hmmm . . . what could that mean and how did she know?  Inside was a small brown freckle (brand new).  Attached was a note that indicated that it would be placed just at the edge of my right eyebrow.  “It’s that permanent make-up you wanted!” she said excitedly. 

What I said:  “Thanks.  How very thoughtful of you.”

What I thought:  “Be careful what you wish for!  This is not what I wanted at all.  Oh well, it was just a misunderstanding.  She tried.” 

The next package was a bit larger and was wrapped in purple crepe paper.  Nestled inside some crumpled tissue paper was a book.  This was nice; I loved to read.  What was it?  A New Wrinkle in Time.  Huh?  She was laughing her head off as she quipped, “Yeah, just ‘in time’ for your birthday!”

I hardly knew what to make of her.  I had really liked Sixty’s perky optimism, but this new person I would have to get used to.  She seemed to have an edginess that was a bit “different.”  The last package was huge.  It was wrapped in newspaper comics pages.  She was obviously into recycling.  This was a point in her favor.  As I began unwrapping the box, she began telling me about it.

“I know you are prone to misplacing things, so I have to tell you to be careful with what is in this box.  It is very valuable, and you will need to guard it.”

There was layer after layer of those brightly colored comics.  She had outdone herself in wrapping this one.  I peeled and peeled; it was taking so long that she could not contain herself.  She was so eager for me to know what was inside that she finally blurted out, “Hurry up and get this unwrapped and, whatever you do, don’t ever lose it!  You’re going to need it!”

She was so antsy that she was making me nervous.  “Just go ahead and tell me what it is,” I said. 

“It’s all the rage for baby-boomers.  It’s the must-have for any woman of our decade.  The beauty of this device is that it is so light.  You can take it with you anywhere.   It’s called a Sense of Humor.”

” . . . she can laugh at the days to come” (Proverbs 31:25b).


About Jan Hamlett

Exploring faith outside the safety of Sunday
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