The Gifts I Gave . . .

This is not even remotely close to a serious post.  However, every last word of it is true.

From December of 1992 until February of 1997, I worked at Lighthouse Christian Bookstore.  It changed names and owners a couple of times, and it wasn’t a continuous period of work (there was a 3 month sabbatical at JByron’s Department Store, and a 3 month run in the Winn Dixie Seafood department, and the worst lawn service job in the history of the world – but this isn’t about those).

I cannot even believe I’m allowing you guys into this side of my mind, but my friend Katherine somehow drew this out in the comments on one of her posts, so hang with me.

Because, without fail, every gift I gave anyone during that time period was purchased at Lighthouse Christian Bookstore.  Every single one.  All of them at either 10% or 20% (different owners equal different discounts) off.

I bought my mom most of the seraphim Angel collection.  She loved ‘em, or so she told me.  They were kinda creepy, I thought.  I put them on layaway for, like, 18 months or something.  Longest layaway plan in history.  Then I bought her a Bible.  Then a Beth Moore Devotional.  Then a Beth Moore Devotional Bible.

I bought my dad a genuine leather Bible, KJV.  Then I bought him a Charles Stanley Devotional.  Then I bought him a Rick Warren Devotional.  Then I bought him the Men’s Devotional Bible.  Then I bought him . . . you get the picture.

I also used my employee discount to score items of affection for potential women in my life.  I’ll never forget scouring book after book of “birth name” cards.  Come to find out, these were for newborns, and you’d put them in a first Bible or something.  But they’d have the name, a la “Amanda” and its definition (“worthy to be loved” or “beloved” – they all basically had the same definition since there were no Amandas in ancient Rome).  It’d be a glossy card, with like a picture of a seagull or a mountain or a sunset in the background; text would be in the the calligraphy font straight from Microsoft Works 1.0.  How I didn’t score more dates by leaving those $.49 cards on girls desks and in their lockers at school, we’ll never know.  I was certain that would leave a trail of cheerleaders in my path.  I did not.

Anyway, my sister reaped the most benefits of all, because I ascended to the man in charge of the music side of the store . . . This means she benefited from my behind the scenes music access.

First, you need to understand that I was under the impression that I was IN the music industry.  Sure I was making $7 an hour selling Bill and Gloria Gaither Videos . . . but that doesn’t take into account the perks.

Like free backstage passes to meet Steven Curtis Chapman?  Mark Lowry?  Petra?  Michael English?  How could you put a price on that*?

*Technically, those tickets all had prices on them.  But whatever.

When Christafari sold there 100,000th record, and the band decided to call Christian Bookstores and thank them, who picked up that phone?  Mark Mohr didn’t carry on that conversation by himself.

When Jars of Clay decided to send a Gold Record to all their mega-stores, who was only 9 album sales short?

So I was kindof a big deal.  Which meant I could take home the standup displays after they’d run their useful life.  And this is where my sister really benefited.

Off the top of my head, I remember bringing home:

A life sized Carmen.  A 3/5 scale cutout of PFR.  Andy Griffith (because she was a huge Andy Griffith fan).  The Steven Curtis Chapman Great Adventure display AND the SCC Signs of Life display.  Signed Third Day posters.  Signed DC Talk posters (not actually signed by them; but really good reprints).

This is to say nothing of the bands I brought home who never made it, but woah if they had, we would have some serious memorabilia for the Alt-Rock-Christian-Retro movement that’s afoot* . . . a Believable Picnic Poster?  Boom.  Imagine This promo tents?  Nailed it.  Keith Brown, well, anything?  Give me a hard one.  Oh, a signed East to West Poster, by the dude who’s now in Rascal Flats?  Please . . . I could’ve had tons of those if I’d wanted (if by “signed” you meant “not autographed so much as re-printed”)

*What do you mean it’s not afoot.  Just wait.

None of this really has any point at all, I just felt like y’all needed to know.

Anyway.  That was life with me in the mid-90’s.

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