Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Confessions of a Christmas Wreath Thief

I'm admitting it.

I can imagine myself in the police station at one end of a long metal table.   A cop is at the other end. A light fixture with a single bright bulb is overhead.  The shadows are harsh.  "Okay, Copper, I admit it!" I scream. " I took the wreath, but you'll never prove it.  And I'm gonna beat this wrap.  You're wastin' your time keepin' me in this joint.  I'm gonna walk!"

The truth is your Christmas wreath isn't safe with me in your neighborhood.  The front door of my house is adorned with a beautiful wreath that I picked up off a total stranger's porch, without his or her knowledge or approval.  I'm a Christmas wreath thief.

The stolen Christmas Wreath on my front door.

No, I'm not too poor to afford my own wreath.  And, no, at least I don't think it's because of a deep-seated psychological condition.  If I ever go to therapy, maybe I'll find out.

As with many who start off into a life of crime, my intentions were good.  It all started out with Linda, a lady we know at church who asked me if I would like to help out the Boy Scouts by ordering a Christmas wreath again this year.  Well, my son is in that worthy organization and is working toward his Eagle Scout rank.  Immediately, I said "yes," as we had bought wreaths from the same lady in past years and they are always beautiful and reasonably priced, and always to support the Boy Scouts.

All was fine as my family and I waited for the wreath to arrive.  I got an email from Linda who said I could pick it up off her front porch and leave the check under a potted plant.

I emailed her back telling her that I didn't remember exactly where her house was, but that she could let me know and I would be by in a day or so to pick it up.

She replied that the house was the first left in her subdivision after the flagpole, then the big house on the right with the giant pine tree at the side of the yard.  My wreath would be in a box on her porch, just pick it up and leave the check.

The directions were easy to follow.  I turned at the flagpole.  I wasn't exactly sure which of the big houses on the right because there were several big pine trees in the area.  But one house looked familiar, and sure enough, when I got to the porch there was a box with a wreath.  I took it and left a check under the potted plant.

One of my very first digital painting from 2001. It's called The Christmas Wreath.  The young lady is wearing a Christmas wreat around her neck.  It's made from straw and is typical of crafts found in the Mayan marketpalces.
My wife was thrilled with the wreath and its big red and gold ribbon.  I wouldn't say I get thrilled over such things, but it is a very nice wreath.

A few days later, while getting ready for a meeting at work, my secretary told me that a lady had called and was bringing my Christmas wreath.  I was puzzled.  I asked her the lady's name and it was Linda.  I told my secretary to call her back and tell her that I already have my wreath.  However, it was too late and no one answered the phone when she returned the call.

Twenty minutes later, just as I was about to go into my meeting, Linda stepped into the office carrying a big boxed wreath.

"Hi, Linda," I said, "I tried calling to tell you that I've already pick up my wreath, but you had already left."

She looked at me like I was crazy.  "What do you mean?  This is your wreath"

"No, I picked mine up several days ago."

"Really?"  She was obviously confused.

"Yes," and I left the check under the pot.  "You didn't find it."

"No, I didn't look because the wreath was still there.  I guess someone returned a wreath after you picked yours up."

"Okay," I said.  "I'm sorry that you came all this way."

"That's okay," she said.

"Let me know if you don't find the check."

"Don't worry," she replied, and was gone.

I didn't think about it again.

The next time I saw Linda was at Christmas mass yesterday afternoon.  The Christmas music was beautiful and we said "hello" after the service.

"You stole my neighbor's Christmas wreath!" were the first words that came from her mouth.


My wife and children looked at me with dropped jaws."

"My house is next to the one where you took the wreath."

"I'm sorry.  I saw the pine tree and there as a wreath on the porch."

"Yes, we finally figured it out.  It was the wreath I sold her. Don't worry about it.  She found the check made out to BOY SCOUTS and gave me a call.  It's all taken care of now."

"Wow,  I'm sorry."

"No, really it's fine."

My wife gave me the "How could you look."

I looked at my son, the future Eagle Scout.  He was amused -- just another standard adventure for Dad.

I've now been branded a Christmas wreath thief.  I'm not sure it's something you can ever live down.  Only time will tell.

You can find my website at:  www.tombellart.com

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