Every year, it's the same sad story.

I wait too long to get my Christmas presents purchased, wrapped, and boxed up, and I find myself with only a few scant shipping days to spare at my local post office. When I arrive, the line is out the door, everyone is grumpy and overheated, and I have to pay more to send the boxes than the value of what's contained in them. Every year, I tell myself what a putz I am for being such a laggard, while I awkwardly juggle my multiple boxes and visibly cringe at the checkout total.

This year was different.

I got to the post office today, with Christmas far enough away to not pay extra shipping costs.

The line was long, but not out the door.

I pushed my boxes along in line with my feet instead of carrying them in my arms.

But none of these good things were the best thing.

In front of me in the line waiting for service was a tiny, well-dressed, kind-looking older lady, probably in her 80s. After waiting awhile, she looked back at me and nodded and rolled her eyes in interminable line-waiting solidarity. I returned the gesture and smiled. We began to talk about the drag of our holiday task here, and about where our gifts were going. I found out she grew up in Oklahoma, and was very grateful to be a Washington State transplant and in a "blue" state. Well, right on, sister. We commiserated about the pathetic regressive politics of Kansas and how Scott Walker of Wisconsin is a weak-chinned fool. She told me she was going to be a great-grandma soon, and was excited about it. I told her I hoped grandmotherhood for me was a long, LONG way off, and she laughed. I had her put her boxes on top of my boxes so she didn't have to hold them for so long.

Finally, we both made it up to the counter. As I was still getting the insurance receipts for my packages, she walked up to me as she was leaving and touched my arm and smiled at me and spoke.

"Thank you for being so nice. You made my wait so fun! I hope you have a Merry Christmas!"

I smiled the biggest smile and wished her the very same, and I still feel that little bit of sunshine now as I write this, on a cold and cloudy day.