A Christmas Honor

Jacqueline M. Ruffino-Platt

What inspires me? Arts and Crafts. Driving through a shopping mall one snowy day on the East coast, I found a brand-new store. You guessed. Arts and Crafts beyond double doors. It was Christmastime and the surroundings within the mall were beautiful. I drove into a parking space, parked my car and walked towards this beautiful window that was so impressive.

Thoughts and ideas were scrambling throughout my head and my heart was pounding loudly as I peered through the glass door. I jumped quickly and took a big step backwards when someone touched the glass door from inside and motioned to me to step back.

I pointed to the sign on the glass door which read, Floral Designer position wanted.

The store had all I needed to create some fine and interesting crafts. Bow Making in all colors and fabric. Floral and Wreath Designing, Center Pieces for tables, decorating homes for the Holidays. My creative interests and talents I inherited from my mom, and to this day are still in my heart and wonderful memories. The title “Floral Designer” in this brand-new store was exciting. Then someone opened the glass door and invited me in. I mentioned I was interested in the position that was advertised on the window. I was then asked to wait for the manager. A very nice gentleman addressed me and invited me to sit down. He interviewed me and then asked to design something with materials and objects I found throughout the store. I was hired then and enjoyed each moment. After two years and enjoying every hour in every day doing what I do best.

One afternoon, the store manager, asked me to step into his office and invited me to sit down. He introduced me to two very distinguished well dressed men from the Government Secret Service. Sorry, I cannot divulge which office they secured at this time.

The two gentlemen informed us the Pentagon’s restoration was near completion, after the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, and requested, if at all possible to have someone in your store create two Red Velvet Bows for the top of two 12 foot Christmas Trees. Why was I at this meeting? My manager had appointed me to the task. The trees were going to be erected and placed in the Pentagon and would like it if we could make this happen. Only two bows I asked?

I felt honored to accomplish such a task and accepted the challenge. However, they only asked for two bows, because each bow had to be 6 feet long x 3 feet wide, in red velvet. Oh my, a challenge for certain. I made two very beautiful Christmas Bows that were placed on the Christmas Trees located at the ends of two individual corridors in the Pentagon. Photographs were taken, and an article written in the local newspaper. The store manager and I, received recognition for our contribution.

A beautiful Bitter Sweet remembrance added to another Chapter of my life stories.