Monday, December 26, 2016

A Barney Banjo Christmas and Coming Full Circle

Another Barney Banjo Christmas

For those of you who knew Brian King, you will especially appreciate this story. Rewind to Fall 2016 when I saw Jeanie Garrett an old Florence, Alabama friend who surprised me with returning the Barney Banjo Brian had given to her daughter Julia, moments before we left Florence Alabama to make our new home in Hoover, Alabama where we lived for eight years until Brian was killed in an accident in 2008. At that moment, I knew I would have a special Christmas present to give to Kristian (pictured left) with the new Barney Banjo in the foreground, with her sweet Dad (right) that same Christmas morning, 
and then yesterday (above) when she opened and laughed through tears as she read the Barney Banjo story again. See the story Below:

A Barney Banjo Christmas

It was the Christmas you were two and a half. For some reason to you were deathly afraid of Santa; I blame the creepy Easter Bunny at the mall we saw in the Spring. But my, you were cute with your blonde hair always spilling out - refusing to be contained by the bows I tried.

I remember the fateful day we first saw the Barney Banjos at the Florence Toys-R-Us. There was a massive display of purple plastic, and we were instantly enthralled with the cleverness of the design. You had to put your hand inside to make the banjo play. It played songs and sounded like a banjo - Cute! (My Mom brain immediately devised a plan, “This will be great ‘Santa present.'” So we began the discussion..“Santa might bring you a Barney Banjo for Christmas if you ask him.” Knowing full well that you would not want to get within 10 feet of the “Jolly-old-elf,” I thought this might just be the motivation you would need to get over your phobia. Never wanting my kids to grow up with unreasonable fears, I figured this could be the perfect solution.

Wow, was that a great idea that backfired! I did get you to talk to Santa – wide eyes filled with terror, you quickly asked for a Barney Banjo and ran back to me. Poor kid. Once that task was over, I realized Santa’s job was going to be tough. All of a sudden, there were no Barney Banjos at Toys-R-Us! I thought I would check with other stores, None. I called Gran. She checked in Tennessee – Zero. I called Aunt Michelle. She checked in Atlanta – Nada.  I called Hasbro. The nice lady on the phone could not guarantee me that anymore Barney Banjos would ship before Christmas. Apparently, there was an issue with the manufacturer, and “Have a nice day!” What?! I started to panic; I started to talk to you about other fun toys. You would look at me with your blonde wisps and big baby blues and tell me how you could not wait until Santa came with your banjo. What was I going to do? I had a two-year-old who told Santa – at gunpoint, practically, the two things on her sweet list, and one of them might not make it! 

You told everyone, over and over, about your Barney Banjo! I felt the Karma Gods placing their bets and laughing at me.

In December, your Dad was flying to Austin, Texas for a meeting, and I told him to look for the elusive evil toy while there. He was skeptical. I said, “Find one!” So, when he landed, I started harassing him, “Did you look for the Banjo?” “No,” I begged him to call the stores, and he promised to. He called around – no luck. Then he tried a K-Bee Toys in a local mall somewhere. At first, the clerk said they were out, but then hesitated and said he would check the back stock. When he finally came back to the phone, he said they had two Barney Banjos that had been pushed behind some other things. Your Dad said, “I just need one, I am on my way!” When a man who was sitting close by heard the conversation, he asked for the story behind the sudden excitement. Brian told him about the search, and when the man heard the toy’s name, his face lit up, and he almost shouted, “I am looking for a Barney Banjo too!” Off they both flew to the store and bought the last two known purple, plastic banjos on the North American Continent. When I next received a call from your Dad, I anxiously answered, and he did not speak at first. Then, I heard the sappy, sweet banjo notes that rang over the cell phone from Texas to Alabama! My hero! Christmas was saved, for both of us!

I can remember your chubby face full of expectation and delight that Christmas morning as you ran into the living room. Your only words, “Where is my Barney Banjo?”I wish I could always make your dreams come true like your Dad and I did that day. I love you, Mom.  (Written in 2010 – edited Christmas 2016. Merry Christmas!)

#justwrite #christmas #daughtersofjoy