Tuesday, December 18, 2012

more on Giving Gifts (and crushed enthusiasm)

          When I asked Jenna what she wanted to get her dad for Christmas last year, she did not even hesitate with an answer.

          “A Bow Tie,” she announced proudly.

          I visualized an elastic and paper doily all bunched up.  

          “What kind of a bow tie?” I asked.

  “A Black one.”  And so it was.  We purchased a black bow tie for Roland – the only black bow tie that we found.

          I was reminded about gifts – precious to the child’s mind, but very impractical.  For instance my wanting to buy my dad a pink Batman shirt for a gift.  I don’t remember it, but my mom said that it happened.

          First off you need to understand that my dad was very conservative.  At that time he would never wear a t-shirt out in public nor would he ever wear the color pink. There are several family photos in which dad wears a crew cut and a blue-green-gold patterned sports jacket – the same sports coat in every photo.  Well, not every photo.  But anyone who saw him in a family photo could tell right away that he was not the pink Batman shirt type.

          My mom steered my brother and I in a different direction to pick out a gift that was much more practical – and then wondered why he didn’t do the same whenever we would go shopping to buy a gift for her.

          Plastic flowers.  I saw the most gorgeous plastic flowers – the entire arrangement was just so pretty and unique – I thought.  Imagine flowers cascading in a long arrangement.  Why it could fit nicely on a door! 

          Actually I didn’t know what it was for. Obviously I had no sense of what the display was really used for.  I remember my maternal grandma letting out a laugh and then covering her mouth as mom unwrapped her beautiful funeral spray. 

Had I known what it was for I don’t think I would have picked it out.  But then again, maybe daddy did tell me and it just hadn’t sunk in – even though I had been to many funerals before.  Even though I had probably seen them on caskets, I obviously hadn’t really paid much attention.  I saw it as something to be displayed – and appreciated.

          I remember mom had arranged the flowers in a bowl – but in order to make them fit properly, she had to cut off the ends.  I was crushed.  She wanted to show appreciation for our thoughtfulness without offending me.  But she did.  I mean, the bowl she had chosen looked nice and everything – but the beauty just wasn’t complete anymore.  But now I do understand why she did it. 

          Jenna beamed as Roland opened his gift.  He gave her an enthusiastic “Thank you” and put his bow tie on before we finished unwrapping gifts.  He wore it to Church which pleased Jenna quite a bit. 

          We were unable to find it so that he could wear it to the Christmas dinner this year.  But Jenna hasn’t said anything since 2011.

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