Among the top 5 selling items on Amazon this past Black Friday was a DNA test kit to check a person’s ancestral roots

Among the top 5 selling items on Amazon this past Black Friday was a DNA test kit to check a person’s ancestral roots. I pondered on that through an N.C.I.S. rerun and six commercials. What happened to the Slinky? Is the Hula Hoop too hard to wrap? Has the official Red Ryder BB Gun gone the way of the dinosaur?

Listen, five minutes on Aunt May White’s front porch and you’d realize the less you knew about the family tree—the better off the whole world would be! She admitted Uncle Leonard was connected to the robbery over at the Iron City Savings and Loan. She seemed to have first hand knowledge of Cousin Theresa’s elopement with the married International Harvester salesman from Muscle Shoals. And she was still “spitting mad” that the Kennedy side of the family had a great-grandfather who fought for the Army of Northern Aggression during the Civil War!

What person in his right mind would pay big bucks this Christmas season to find out some distant kinfolk had ridden with the Dalton gang. Or voted for Franklin Pierce. Or been an envoy at Fort Laramie promising the Indians they could have this land as long as “the wind blows and the grass grows.” Good gosh, I’m looking forward to a new set of golf clubs….not backwards at some embarrassing skeleton leaping out of my closet!

And don’t for a second think these folks at Amazon invented online shopping. Mr. Sears and Mr. Roebuck beat them to it by 108 years. We’d lay on that braided rug in the living room and browse through the Sears and Roebuck Catalog app like there wasn’t going to be no tomorrow! Of course, the Timex watch with the red sweep second hand wasn’t one click away. You had to kinda let Mom know it was the best thing in the book…….and then pray for a Christmas miracle that Santa could come up with nine dollars and then find your house in the dark.

Among the other top selling items online this Christmas are the Amazon Echo Dot, the Fire TV Stick with Alexa voice remote, the TP-Link smart plug and the Instant Pot 8-quart seven-in-one multiuse programmable pressure cooker. To the best of my memory, none of these items were listed in the 1958 Sears and Roebuck Catalog.

It’s just another, less than subtle, reminder that the world has passed me by. I have no idea what an Echo Dot is, I’ve never met Alexa, I wouldn’t know how to use a TP-Link if it was plugged into my hip and I’ve learned after 43 years of marriage I wouldn’t give Cathy a pressure cooker, or any gift for the kitchen, if they were passing them out for free in front of the F. W. Woolworth store!

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not against online shopping. It actually makes good sense to purchase early, away from the noise and the crowd and the traffic. But I just wonder if you get any sense of “Christmas shopping” pushing a few keys in on your laptop or smart phone?

Me and David Mark used to stand with our noses stuck to the glass of Robert Hall’s Western Auto Store. We’d peer through the painted-on snow and candy canes at the Christmas specials displayed prominently through the window. We had no use for the Kodak Instamatic Camera or the Revlon Cosmetics. But the Case Knife display, the 12 gauge Browning automatic shotgun and the Western Flyer bicycle kept us riveted to the glass.

After selecting the items we wanted (like we actually had real money) we’d race across the square to the basement of J. A. Abernathy’s Hardware and play the same game. We wanted to be a part of the noise, the hustle and the bustle. We just assumed it was mandatory if you were truly soaking in all that Christmas offered. Of course, being guys, we’d never admit to enjoying shopping…..

I bought Mom a Bible when I was a freshman in high school. I thought long and hard on it and shopped all over town for just the right one. It was the way too obvious gift. And I spent all the money I had on it. She prized that old Bible until the day she died.

There is magic in the right gift to the right person at the right moment. I pray you find yours this Christmas season. And it doesn’t matter one whit if you buy it early online or find it elbowing and pushing down in the trenches at the last moment……