All the other reindeer
Used to laugh and call him names
They never let poor Rudolph
Join in any reindeer games
Salvation Army buckets, of course, are everywhere, starting before Thanksgiving. The annoying ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding of the bell. One Christmas, I was probably about 10, my brother, father, and I went into some store during the Season, and the bellringer outside, half-protected from the sleet, was singing Christmas carols instead of blindly dinging the bell. We went into the store, and when we came out, he was singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Probably any kid who has ever been to school knows the add-on lyrics (had a very shiny nose/like a lightbulb). Well, we walked out just as the bellringer sang "join in any reindeer games." My brother Ian, whose impulse control equals that of a toy poodle, immediately belted out, "Like Monopoly!"
I have never in my life seen my father go from zero to sixty so fast. I don't know how we wound up in the car, but suddenly, we're there, and it's one long lecture all the way home about how Ian had no respect for anyone. Even I thought this was a stretch. Turns out, though, my grandfather had been a bellringer long ago, and this was one of those hazy childhood memories for my dad. Every bellringer he saw, especially ones who really enjoyed their work, like this one, singing to passersby, was a hearkening back to another time, a time when my dad's family knew they were one paycheck away from needing the Salvation Army's handout, and because of that, gave back what they could--time in the cold.