The Gift Nobody Wanted

A novel event took place at my church the Sunday following Christmas; it was dubbed Fat Pants Sunday. The pastor who dreamt up this idea assumed that a fair amount of gluttony took place during the holiday season. He invited folks to wear comfy clothing and bring leftover goodies, to savor the last of the holiday treats before New Year’s resolutions began. He also decided we would do a gift swap as a way to share unique, unwanted gifts. The food was to be eaten and enjoyed at church; gifts were put on display to be looked at, considered, and then taken by anyone who wanted them.

While doing some housecleaning the Saturday before the event, I placed a Victoria’s Secret bag in our recycle bin. When George saw it, he got an idea.

“You should put something in this and take it to church tomorrow,” he said. We laughed because he was obviously joking; this was not the sort of thing he would do, strait-laced as he was.

But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it. My behavior has become increasingly outrageous in my old age so I thought, Why not? Besides, contrary to popular belief that Presbyterians are the frozen chosen, my church leaders encourage people to shed all pretense and simply be the people God created them to be. I enjoy finding the humor in any situation and Fat Pants Sunday was presenting me with an opportunity.

“Granny panties,” I said. “Let’s go find some granny panties. I bet they have them at the Dollar General Store.”

George and I drove to the DG and wandered up and down aisles until we found clothing. There were socks, t-shirts, exercise shorts, and underwear. The women’s undergarments, whether small or extra large, were all skimpy bikini-styles, though, instead of the large granny panties that reach nearly to the armpits. Then the bras caught my eye. I had expected them to be too expensive but, no, they were a mere five dollars each.

A huge bra would be funny, I thought. The largest was a size 48D, a plain white orthopedic style; it would have to do. I held it up to show George, but he just shook his head with a wry smile, not too keen on where this was headed.

I was relieved to see that the cashier was a young woman; somehow I didn’t want a man to handle the bra—even one I would never wear.

She’ll probably wonder why I’m getting this large size, small as I am, I thought, but she simply rang it up without a word. I offered no explanation—probably because of the man wearing mud-spattered clothes in line behind me. I felt strangely relieved when George and I got back to our car. Clandestine activities are not my norm. When I returned home, I carefully wrapped the bra in tissue paper and placed it in the Victoria’s Secret bag.

George and I had to arrive at church early the next morning as part of the coffee team, so we slipped the bag onto the gift table without anyone seeing. We decided it was best to let the donor of the bag be a mystery.

When the church service ended, a crowd flocked to the table to peruse the gifts. I was on duty at the nearby coffee station, a good spot from which to see and hear reactions. There were lots of children around the table, oohing and aahing over toys; they had little interest in my bag. A number of people, however, were curious about it. Several men peeked inside, moving the tissue a bit to get a glimpse, but then quickly backed away while glancing furtively around. A couple of teenage girls pulled out the bra far enough to see what it was, giggled, then pushed it back in and moved on to other gifts. I think I heard one of them snort. But then there were some older women who pulled the bra completely out of the bag, examined the tag for size, and held the garment up for consideration. A few laughed at it, completely unembarrassed. I stifled a few laughs myself.

The bag was still on the table when I left for home. Either no one expected it to be a good fit or people decided church was not the best place to shop for lingerie. It had achieved its purpose though, causing funny reactions and making me laugh. And since anything not taken was to be donated, the garment was certain to find a home with some special lady.

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