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Once in a while on vacation we see something that reminds us of people back home, and if it would make a nice gift and we can afford it we buy it for them. This was the case when we saw the pottery angel oil lamps, about 250 of them, arranged layer by layer in a Christmas tree-shaped display at Otis Zark’s (O.Zark, get it?) down in Arkansas. Our friend Debbie collects angels. Not only that, she has frequently been an angel, and quite generous with us, so Jan and I said to each other, “Let’s get one of those for Debbie. She needs another angel.” (Need is relative, isn’t it? Probably Debbie has enough angels to supply all of us, but this was, well, a different kind.)

So we examined the angels for the prettiest and the sweetest looking one to match our friend. We narrowed it down to five, then made our decision, picked it up, bought it, put it in an official O. Zark box, and carried it home. Later we passed it on to our friend Debbie, who was suitably appreciative. Only later did we learn a bit more about the gift.

Debbie took the boxed angel home, of course. She read on the box how each angel had a different name, and you could find the name of your angel inscribed on the back of its neck. She found the name of her angel. It was “Debbie.”

Debbie mentioned to us when we next saw her that she appreciated the “fact” that we had searched for an angel that had her name. But we didn’t, we said. We only looked for the prettiest and sweetest one that we could find. “You mean you didn’t know that the angel you gave me was named Debbie?”

No, we didn’t know. But obviously someone did. Someone does keep track of such things. Not me. And this time it wasn’t Jan either.