A Ping Pong Christmas
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
A Ping Pong ChristmasA holiday story from Sawyerton Springs.
“Just hear those sleigh bells jinglin’, ring ting, tinga-ling tooo! Come on it’s lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with yooou!” Terri Henley sang excitedly as she washed the breakfast dishes. At two o’clock that afternoon, she was to lead the Sawyerton Springs Combined Church Choir Carolers in the annual Christmas parade.
Across town at that very moment, Billy Pat Williams was explaining to Dave Winck the procedure he wanted followed for the Ping-Pong ball drop. Dave is a pilot from Foley who has his own airplane and a crop dusting business. Crop dusting being what it is in December, Dave has had to resort to other sources of income.
“Now look, Dave,” Billy Pat said. “We have five hundred of these Ping-Pong balls, and they’re all numbered. Some of the numbers correspond to a cash amount and some can be redeemed for items at specific stores in town. Of the five hundred, about fifty are actually worth something.”
“Just dump all five hundred directly over the parade route,” Billy Pat said, “but wait until about two thirty—the parade will be over by then.” The Ping-Pong ball drop was a new idea that the city council felt would add a little life to an event that had become rather tired. The council solicited donations from businesses in the form of cash or merchandise to be given away to any person catching a correctly numbered ball.
By one thirty, most of the parade participants were milling around the side street by the Vine & Olive Hotel. Roger Luker, the policeman, was trying to line everyone up by yelling through a bullhorn. No one listened.
The carolers were first, followed by the Genealogical Society float. Next came Rick’s Rolling Store carrying the Royal Ambassadors and the Girls Auxiliary from Grace Fellowship. The problem spot in the lineup appeared to be the next entry. Betty Jo Cossar had taken six dogs and hitched them to a small, homemade sleigh. Eliza, the youngest Cossar, was to ride in the sleigh and the dogs, of course, were not happy. Complicating matters were the papier-mâché reindeer antlers Betty Jo had tied to their heads.
No sooner than the dogs were hitched up, Kristy and Tony Hamilton pulled into line with their horse and buggy. Governor, the horse, took a bite out of the wreath attached to the Cossar sleigh, which terrified Eliza. She ran screaming from her position in line and was immediately followed by the dogs, who were chased by the members of the Sawyerton Springs High School Marching Barracuda Band.
After what seemed like forever, calm was restored and the parade got started. Tony Hamilton glanced at his watch. It was two thirty on the nose. Suddenly, a shadow passed over, and they all looked up. Struggling to hold Governor, who was frightened by the noise, Tony hollered to his wife, “What’s he doing here so early?”
At first, Dave had been confused. Hadn’t Billy Pat said two-thirty? he wondered. It looked to him as if the parade was still happening. Oh well, he decided, Billy Pat specifically said two-thirty.
Dave is known around town as a person who will do exactly as he is asked. Exactly. If you want him to dust the bean fields behind your house, you’d better tell him exactly which bean fields. Otherwise, Dave might dust the bean fields behind your house into the next county!
Dave was not a rocket scientist, but he was not in a rocket. He had five hundred Ping-Pong balls that he had been instructed to drop at two thirty. It was two thirty. Bombs away!
Dave lined up on Main Street, dropped the plane down, and hit the trigger. The noise of the plane was too much for the animals. The Ping-Pong balls floating unexpectedly out of the air and the knowledge that one was worth fifty dollars was too much for the people. It was bedlam.
Folks, normally easygoing and polite, were quite literally stampeding each other for the little white prizes. It was the suddenness of it all—the unexpected early arrival of the possibility of something free that did them in. Pastor Ward, on his hands and knees chasing a ball, was heard to say, “I can’t believe I’m doing this.” But he did it anyway. He captured fourteen Ping-Pong balls and won a root beer from Norman’s.
All in all, most of the townspeople had pretty much the same luck. When everything was said and done, it didn’t seem worth the effort. Tom Henley won his own rake, and between George, Betty Jo, and their three kids, they got back four of their dark meat specials.
As for Dave, he is blissfully unaware that the town will not be using his services next year. The city council is already looking for a new, safer tradition to start. One that doesn’t require planes or objects falling from the sky . . . or Dave for that matter, who was not only paid for his efforts, but turned in the one ball that blew back into the cockpit with him—and made an extra fifty bucks.