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Friday, December 18, 2009

Countdown to Christmas with Sharon Donovan

Hello and welcome to Day 18 in my Countdown to Christmas Blog. Today I’d like to share a personal story with you about being careful what you wish for. It happened to me back in the eighties. Does anyone remember the home jewelry parties? Well, I do and I’ll never forget my one and only experience. It happened one Christmas. Enjoy!

Diva Queen
“And here’s our show stopper,” the jewelry representative held up a sleek snake necklace with emerald green eyes. “Can’t you just see yourself at all the Christmas parties in this breathtaking piece? And it can be yours in a heartbeat. All you need do is host the next jewelry party at your house, sell enough jewelry to meet the quota—and this hostess gift is yours! Now which of you lovely ladies is gonna be the Diva Queen of all his dreams?”
I couldn’t take my eyes off it. The emerald green snake eyes had me hypnotized. Before I could stop myself, I shot my hand high in the air. Practically panting, I screamed with gusto. “Me! I’ll host the next party. That necklace is mine!”

For the next two weeks before my party, I walked around with my head in the clouds, dreaming of the gorgeous necklace I’d showcase at all the upcoming Christmas parties. I walked around with stars in my eyes. I dreamed of it and counted the days until it was mine. In between decorating the house, trimming the tree and baking cookies, I went shopping for a dress regal enough to complement my show stopper.

Humming a verse or two of All I want for Christmas, I called every friend, relative and co-worker I could think of, making certain I’d sell enough jewelry to win my hostess gift. On the morning of my party, I even went so far as to post signs on telephone poles, bribing the unsuspected with promises of cookies and hot buttered rum. Giddy with delight, I ushered the jewelry representative in on a blast of cold winter wind.
“Come on in. I have a table ready for you in the living room. Go on and set things up. I’ll just check on the refreshments.”
And before long, the house was bustling with excitement as guests chose accessories to jazz up holiday wardrobes. And by the end of the party, I far exceeded the points I needed to claim my hostess gift. The minute all points were tallied, I screamed loud enough to wake the living dead.

But two weeks later, guests began calling me, curious as to the whereabouts of their orders. Puzzled, I called the representative, who assured me the shipment was just running a little late due to the Christmas rush. But when guests began calling me and leaving irate messages on my machine, I got suspicious.
“How dare you try and pull one over on us,” a co-worker screeched. “Of all the people in the world, you’d be the last person I’d suspect of stealing money.”
Something inside me went ice cold. What was she talking about? My left eye began to twitch the way it did when I was upset. Biting my lip, I made a few phone calls, feeling the life being sucked right out of me.
And when I learned the jewelry representative had told my guests she’d delivered the shipment to me over a week ago, my heart sank. I smelled a rat. And after more phone calls to the company, I learned the jewelry order was never turned in. The trusty representative had pocketed my money and was nowhere to be found, leaving me in bad standing with my friends, relatives and co-workers.

After countless calls to the jewelry company, numerous apologies to my guests and more heartache than I’d ever known, I reached rock bottom. But when guilt finally caught up with the jewelry representative, she called with a full confession.
“I’m so sorry,” she choked out in between sobs. “I couldn’t afford to pay the rent. I had all good intentions of turning your order money in next week. Honest. I’m really sorry. I’ve never done this. Can you forgive me?”
Her sobbing disgusted me. Because of her jack-be-nimble fingers, I lost the respect of the people I cared most about. I just shook my head, unable to say the words desperately wanting to roll off my tongue. I simply slammed down the phone, feeling a whole lot older and a whole lot wiser.
And a few days before Christmas, when my jewelry order was at long last delivered, I opened it with a heavy heart. And when I unveiled my hostess gift, something I was ready to sell my soul for, an icy chill washed over me. The sleek gold snake necklace glistened on a bed of blue velvet, its emerald green eyes winking up at me like the eyes of a serpent. Closing the lid, I packed it away. I wanted no parts of it. Because of a piece of glamorous costume jewelry, I’d nearly lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas. Greed had taken hold of me, ensnaring me in its ugly web. I felt ashamed. Nothing was worth the price of that necklace.

The following day, I wrapped up the necklace and placed it under the Angel tree at my church. And the minute I did, I felt the weight of the world lift from my burdened shoulders. Humming along to the beautiful instrumental the choir was playing, the sound of flutes and harps filling me with inner peace, I left with a light heart and a valuable lesson learned. Be careful what you wish for.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Holiday Season!


Kathleen said...

Good morning Sharon. What a story! I can see why you wouldn't want to keep that necklace.

Sharon Donovan said...

Good morning Kathleen. Yes, you might say it indeed lost its luster and appeal. I can only hope it brought joy to someone else who had no idea of its ugly history. Merry Christmas!

Linda Swift said...

Wonderful story, Sharon. Good lesson for all of us. Snakes. Eeeee. Not for me. No good comes of snakes. This story reminds me of the Garden of Eden and our gender's downfall.Say good morning to Oliver for me.

Sharon Donovan said...

Good morning, Linda. Good comparison and one I now associate. Those snake necklaces with the beguiling jewel eyes were quite the rage in the 70 and 80s, and I was true to form, a real trend seeker. LOL But you know now, just the thought of a snake necklace makes me shiver. Oliver sends his love.

Candace Morehouse said...

That's a great story, Sharon. I am so glad you opted to give away the object of your dreams. That was the right thing to do, no matter how hard it might have been.

I've been wanting an ebook reader for 2 Christmases now and I'm afraid I'll never get it. Maybe that's my lesson to learn...

On second thought, no, it isn't! I want an ebook reader, dammit!

Julie Robinson said...

That story was incredible. It needs to be in a novel. Like Linda, it reminds me of the Garden of Eden, though in some cultures, it represents eternal life. Personally, though, I don't think I could wear a snake necklace. I mean, even garden snakes get the end of my shovel.

It's kind of ironic, though, how the snake's eye hypnotized you. Isn't that supposed to be how they kill their prey? At least for cobras, it's true.

I believe that your humbled and generous placing of it under an angel at church dispelled any negativity for the next person. There is a painting with a snake being trod under an angel's foot. Or maybe it's Mary's foot. I don't remember.

Merry Christmas, Sharon. I will be leaving for a week to visit family.

Sharon Donovan said...

Hey, Candace! Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment. Sitting here chuckling. You know, as long as the e reader doesn't have snake eyes carved into the side for a design or fangs that will bite you, go for it girl! You know what I say? We might not always get what we want, but we get what we need. And you need an E-reader, right? Hope your dreams come true this Christmas. Merry Merry!!

Sharon Donovan said...

Julie! Now you've gone and given me the wee willies! Geez...all those myths associated with the snake. And come to think of it, I do remember the serpent being crushed by the foot of the Madonna. I am pretty sure my grandmother had a music box of the Blessed Mother and she was indeed crushing a snake with her foot. Ohhh...hadn't thought of that in many moons.
But anyway, have a wonderful visit and Merry Christmas and I'll chat with you soon.

Julie Robinson said...

That is too cool, Sharon! A music box like that, huh?! I love music boxes and still have mine from childhood.
You got me curious, so I had to google it. There is indeed a painting of the Madonna and the Serpent---by Michelangelo, no less!!

Sharon Donovan said...

Would I lie to you Julie? Grin.

Mary Ricksen said...

You did nothing to feel bad about Sharon, someone else's sin is not yours by association you know.
If you felt better to donate it as a gift, that's just cause you are a good and generous person.
I hope the thing that represented your grief, makes up by pleasing someone else.
You rock Sharon.

Judy said...

A very sobering story. I never got into the house parties for different things. I have went to a few, mainly out of respect for the person,but now I am glad I didn't.

Sharon Donovan said...

Mary! You know, as long as that thing was in my possession, it would be a thorn in my side, literally. Or shall I say a poisonous fang in my side? But nonetheless, I considered it bad karma, a symbol of bad luck, bad omen, evil eye and all of the above. I wanted it OUT of my house and home. And I never regretted it for a NY second.

Sharon Donovan said...

Judy, hi! I don't want to give a bad name of all the house parties, just par for the course, Murphy's Law, the one I hosted. LOL For the most part, I suppose, they were a big hit considering their extensive reign. Look at the Tupperwear parties. Just like everywhere in this world, there is one bad apple in every bunch. She was just unfortunately in my pickings.

Sharon Donovan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sharon Donovan said...

I would like to thank all for dropping by today and for your great comments. They say every picture tells a story. Well, I suppose every story teaches a lesson, too. Until next time, may the luck of the Irish be with you as you travel through life.
Love and Blessings,

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Ouch! What a story! And yes, it does have quite sinister undertones too....puts me in mind of a Saki-type of story, you know. Creepy! Poor old snakes have had a bad press over the years, haven't they? But the symbolism, yes - I couldn't wear snake jewellery just because of the association, and I do remember those collars and bangles being very popular, with their gleaming, beady eyes...shudder!
Quite a story on lots and lots of different levels. One to remember, for sure!

Jane x

Sharon Donovan said...

Jane, you said it! This story evokes so many feelings in me--from the wildly trendy costume jewelry of the 70-80s--to the portrayal of how easily greed seeps into our blood. Never a snake lover, scared to death of them, but I do admit to being drawn in by the slinky necklaces that were all the rage. But that venomous bite put an end to that. Shivers is right. Wonder what ever happened to the necklace with such a history?