Truly Blessed

ALS patient James Martin shares his journey.

I went Christmas shopping—and lived to tell about it

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James Martin
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

With six children Christmas shopping has been a quasi military campaign. My wife and I would put on our armor and battle our way through Black Friday; rising early in the pre dawn, buying a magnum venti grande of gourmet gas station coffee, and marching forth to conquer the early birds. It was always a fun day that I looked forward to. Unfortunately, my health required me to resign my commission and surrender the battlefield.

For the last two years I missed going Christmas shopping, or so I thought. This past Saturday my son took me out so I could do a little shopping. I now remember what I was missing and I no longer miss it. Three stores, two hours, and what seemed like an eternity in retail purgatory.

Folklore says that premodern Amazon tribes refused to have their picture taken as they feared it stole a small part of their soul. They were wrong; taking pictures won't do that, but Christmas shopping sure does.

It was a sloppy Saturday and using my walker was a challenge. The boulders of rock salt that help keep the sidewalk ice free also act as an emergency break on the small wheels of my walker, jolting my shuffle to a sudden halt and almost sending me head over Salvation Army tea kettle. And the unevenous of the parking lots, sidewalks, and no slip entry rugs sent a constant vibration up through the walker into my hands, arms and beyond as if my job was jackhammering those salt boulders.

My shopping remains incomplete so I must finish online. I shall conquer the great Amazon, paying homage and dollars to the powerful Amazon Tribal Chief Bezos. In so doing, I will avoid the store battlefield and boulders of salt while shopping online. But there remains a price, as each page view leaves an internet Christmas cookie that goes straight to my thighs, which is still better I suppose, than losing part of my soul.

Have a blessed Christmas.

James Martin is a former attorney and graduate of Gonzaga University and Marquette Law School. He lives in Spring Prairie near Burlington. He has been diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. He is married with 6 kids. James is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. His opinion is not necessarily that of the Gazette staff or management.

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