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Send your loved ones gifts this Christmas

Somewhere in the middle of the holiday enthusiasts who love Christmas more than words can adequately describe and their equal opposites who struggle the best way they know how to get through it, you will find me. Not that you were looking, I realize, but I believe based on my own personal struggles over the years, you can find yourself somewhere in my story today.

I’m among the multitudes who, for a variety of explanations, ship gifts to loved ones. As much torment as invariably rises within me over the inescapable uncertainty of whether or not I made smashing gift choices, I always get giddy once I throw myself into the process. But, mind you, I have to get beyond: “Is this the right gift,” “What would she really have liked better,” and, “I should have bought him a belt instead of a vest.”

So, today is wrap ‘em up, ship ‘em out day. I pick a sizeable space, the day bed, and push the animal toys and blankets aside and pull all the stuff together into one place: tape, scissors, little to/from tags, gift wrap paper, boxes and bags. No bows, you ask? Yes, tis one of the benefits of shipping.

I begin.

Somewhere between losing the Scotch tape a few times, misplacing a second pair of scissors and running out of to/from labels, things start getting a little salty.

So, now it’s time to get the goods in a box for shipping. This year, I am without my trusty backup, the UPS store, which I miss almost as much as I miss Big Lots.

The box I’d been saving for two months in the back of my little truck, which is protected from the elements and earmarked for this specific Christmas mailing, was rendered useless after the last bodacious rain a few days ago. I had hedged my bets that I could beat the rain home. And didn’t.

So, I score a suitable mailing box finally and arrange the gift boxes, neatly I might add, inside. After I do all the flap maneuvers to ensure the box is secure, I see before me a gap large enough to compromise the contents.

Not only is the giddy now out the window, frustration has nudged in.

Thank you Natchez Market for having nice, thick brown paper bags. Today, they are my redeemer.

To fix the gap, I cut up a bag. It works.

Now I go, with gigantic trepidation, to get the packing tape. The first fear is that it won’t be where I need it to be. The second fear is that it will.

It’s there. By amazing grace, it is in a ready state, and I don’t have to have a hissy fit trying to find the invisible place it attaches itself to on the roll. As you might well know, once it does that, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t make it right again. I think, as humans, we are one of two kinds of people. Those who can work with packing tape and those who cannot. I cannot.

After I apply a lengthy strip of tape and am ready to cut it, I remember Humpty Dumpty.

One screw up and the loose end will, like a homing pigeon, reclaim its rightful place on the roll.

I manage to get another sizeable piece off the roll, and this time, attempting my newly invented genius idea of using scissors rather than the serrated metal factory installed cutting strip, drop the scissors. If I just had not panicked.

I’m back from the post office now. The package is on its way. Not because I could get the tape restored to its functioning position and finish the job. Nope. Because this is Natchez, folks.

Say all you care to about us. When it all melts down, we are bonded. We get by with a little help from each other.

The guy behind the counter at the downtown post office — middle aged with the salt and pepper beard — told me he’d secure the package and get it on its way. I wanted to pay extra but he said, “No big deal, I got you covered.”

Joy to the world!

My giddy is back, I’ve got the spirit this year, and I want to wish you and your loved ones, near and far, all the peace, love and joy your hearts can hold.

Merry Christmas, Miss Lou.

Jack Kelly is a Natchez resident.