The Rex Hospital Blood Services sends out the Bloodmobile to my office park every once in a while to ask us all to roll up our business casual shirt sleeves to save a life or three. I am always eager to give blood, both for the warm mushy feeling it gives me and also for the free snacks at the end. As an extra incentive, if you give blood during the month of December, you get a special Christmas ornament that you can take home and treasure forever. These ornaments are nice pewter medallions. On the front is a scene from "The Twelve Days of Christmas," while the back says "REX" and the year.
They've been doing the "Twelve Days" theme awhile, because the one I got this morning has eight maids-a-milking on it. Well, actually, it has women in bonnets and aprons carrying pails. We are assume that they just back from their a-milking, rather than believing them to be just back from a-mopping or a-fire-out-putting. Also, there are only seven, because it's hard to fit eight women in a little space. The eighth one must be short and behind all the others, or maybe she just had a full cow. One additional limitation of the medium means that the maids are all quite homely, if not outright deformed, as if the cows have kicked them in the face more than once.
All that complaining aside, I was very excited to receive my ornament. I got the swans-a-swimming last year, so I am actually collecting the set. Now, I know that's just what they want. They dangle a matching set of ornaments in front of me like a but-wait-there's-more offer on an infomercial, just to get me in the door so they can take my blood. It's very devious, and I hate to think that I am falling into that trap. But I was going to give blood anyway, just because I like to do it. Also, saving others with my precious donated life force is different than buying a SlapChop at 3 in the morning.
Unfortunately, I didn't even move to Raleigh until after they'd started the "Twelve Days" ornament gift, so I missed my opportunity to get several. My set will never be complete, and there is nothing sadder than eight (or seven) maids-a-milking without three french hens.
Last year, I found two other Twelve Days ornaments at thrift stores in the area. So some people out there are giving blood, but for some reason do not care for the highly collectible pewter keepsakes. So, I bought them. I added the golden rings and the partridge to my set. I paid for them with cold hard cash, rather than warm flowing blood. And I feel a little guilty about that, like I didn't earn them. I imagined someone coming into my house and accusing me of fraud. No, I did not give blood to Rex Hospital in December of 2008. But I've given blood a bunch of other times when there was no seasonal gift. Can't I just transfer my March 2010 donation to that December so I can say that I have a legitimate right to the fifth day of Christmas?
It's a silly thing to worry about.