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The best gift...

Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2007, at 9:52 PM

One of the best things about Christmas gifts growing up was the element of surprise. We never had a clue what might be waiting under the tree and with ten in the household and all of us buying for each other, there was a multitude under the tree on the morning of each December 25th. I still hold true to that concept, not resorting to the "lists" that many now devise. I still somehow relish the idea of surprising someone with something they might not even need, rather than presenting them with something they expect. It's just more fun.

Perhaps the most memorable Christmas gift when I was young came in a wrapped box that was considerably larger than today's DVD players, larger still than a VCR box. I was awakened by the annual early call that Santa had visited in the night (a routine we seemed to follow way too many years past the youngest believing). The wrapped box bore two name...mine and that of my just-older sister's, which meant we were both required to tear it open as my proud parents sat back and watched the excitement unfold. It was a GE record player in a hinged box, red lid, white bottom. It played 33s and with the insertion of a little plastic disc, an adaptor if you will, the size of a poker chip having a hole at the center, it also played 45s. It was the coolest thing I'd ever seen and as if that wasn't enough, it had an AM radio built in! Heaven! The concept was that since my sister and I shared a room, we'd also share this rare gift. Worked for us, as did the record player for years to come. We tuned in WLS, listening to Dick Biondi late at night, against our parents' better judgment and grooved to the tunes of Neil Sedaka, the Supremes and Connie Francis. The Beatles, Santana and Joe Cocker would later take their place and on a much more sophisticated system, I'm sure. I don't recall which of us was bequeathed the red and white GE once we were granted our own rooms (there was great joy when an elder married off...it meant another bedroom came on the market). We likely had advanced to an FM radio by then, but they must not have had quite the impact that the red and white record player did. Wish I had it today. It's probably worth a fortune, but I wouldn't take anything for it...unless perhaps it was something chocolate.

And what was YOUR favorite Christmas gift?

Minnie o'


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Thank you for your quick response. You will have made one 6 yr. old girl very happy. I'm glad you enjoyed my Christmas story. I can hardly wait to get home to tell her the news. She was quite disappointed last evening when I told her she would need to wait to start playing. That lessons and a tuning come first. Thank you again and may you have a splendid New Year!

-- Posted by Keri Girl on Thu, Dec 27, 2007, at 8:56 AM

Blessings abound! It has been a wonderful Christmas. I agree the element of suprise is part of the wonder of Christmas. My daughter turned 6 Christmas Eve, and has asked for 4 years for a fiddle. This year her wish was granted. She woke early Christmas morning and ran to our room with such excitement saying, "Wake up, wake up, Santa has come. The tree is loaded and our stockings are over flowing!" Ahh the joy of a child. As we made our way down the stairs to the tree she said, "I just know I'll get my fiddle this year." As we opened the presents and they dwindled under the tree she became very quiet. I asked what the matter was, and she said, "I didn't get my fiddle." I told her we weren't done yet and maybe it was behind another. We progressed and just as her brother opened his last she looked behind the tree to find one last gift with her name on it. She said, "This one has my name, and I think it's my fiddle." As she sat on my lap to open the gift I could feel her excitment ripple through her small body. I told her it may not be a fiddle it could be a guitar or maybe even a bango. She quickly corrected me and ripped the paper back to reveal the case. As she sat there quietly staring at the black case I said, "What's wrong?" She quietly said, "Nothing. I told you it was my fiddle." As she opened the case to expose what was inside you could have heard a pin drop. I saw her small little hand reach out to touch the beauty before it. Time and again she glided her hand across the smooth shining wood. When she spoke it was with wonderment and joy saying, "I'm so happy. Thank you." It was at this point I told her the story of how she came to receive this gift. I explained, "This is very special and you should cherish this gift. You see your Poppy told Mimi, before he left to live with Jesus, that he wanted you to have a fiddle. So Mimi gave us half of the money and Daddy and I put in the other half to get this fiddle for you." She looked at me with such love in her eyes and said, "I'll always take care of it Mommy." So our house was filled to the brim with the true spirit of Christmas. I hope she never forgets this Christmas. I know I won't.

I have one small request from whomever reads this. If you should know of the lady who teaches violin/fiddle there in Dexter would you please respond or call me at (573) 776-7794. Thank you, and I hope your home was blessed also this year.

-- Posted by Keri Girl on Wed, Dec 26, 2007, at 3:16 PM
Minne O'Pausal's response:
The violin teacher in Dexter is Miriam Brehmer and her number is 624-8423. She is a wonderful teacher, I'm told. Thank you so much for sharing your most inspirational story....much enjoyed!

...and I do think he was wearing a PINK SHIRT!

-- Posted by letseatcake633 on Mon, Dec 24, 2007, at 9:16 PM
Minne O'Pausal's response:
Oh ye loyal blogger buds....

Minnie is alive and well...and shall report to duty manana with a holiday "recap." In the meantime...Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight. (and watch out for those hunky monkeys in the pink shirts...stay tuned).

Goat Lady! You are so perceptive. Why we hadn't figured it our earlier must have been due to the distractions of the season...surely a ploy by our dear Minnie to keep us from noticing her absence. Say, wasn't there an airport photo in the newspaper just the other day showing a glimpse of a tiny, mysterious woman sporting a lovely hat donned with pink flowers - on the arm of a mysterious stranger???

-- Posted by letseatcake633 on Mon, Dec 24, 2007, at 9:15 PM

Cake, I just had a gigantic thought!!! Could it be that our dear Minnie is on a cruise to the South Seas?? Or 'praps she has taken a slow train to China? Mayhap, she has run off with a tall, blonde, handsome stranger, wearing a white suit and a pink shirt with a silver tie? (Yes, I'm describing Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby in "The Great Gatsby"!)

Ahhhhhhh, the imagination fairly explodes with the possibilities!

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Dec 24, 2007, at 7:59 PM

GL - I, too, worry about our dear Minnie. She's probably stressing over an exciting new topic. Either that, or she's just chilling out, chuckling over years past, catching up on laundering her pullet-stamped undies or tipping the bottle with her dear friend "Sean'. In any case, I wish her a Merry Christmas. As for me, I will cozy up in my favorite chair, sip a little vanilla and cater to my dear husband. He's been a little under the weather lately...

-- Posted by letseatcake633 on Sat, Dec 22, 2007, at 1:41 PM

Minnie, dear, I can't imagine how overworked and underfed you must be, for you not to have time for a new blog topic!

I find myself so stressed out this Christmas, that I can't enjoy it.

-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, Dec 19, 2007, at 6:06 AM

Guido has brought teeny tears to an old meno's eyes...great story and glad to have you back. I know everything is relative and that the bat and glove of yesterday are the equivalent of one of today's hand-held computer games, but I bet they produced many more memories than today's electronics ever will...oh, the simple things in life! Thanks, Guido.

-- Posted by bringwine on Sat, Dec 15, 2007, at 1:38 PM

I think Guido just made a fly-by.

-- Posted by goat lady on Sat, Dec 15, 2007, at 8:48 AM

You're so right, goat lady. My own sainted mother would just look at Marshall Dillon and sigh "what a man." Must have driven my father crazy when they were together. No one could live up to the image of Marshall Dillon.

For me, it was Jimmy Stewart in "The Philladelphia Story" that ruined me for other men. Not a Christmas story so I won't digress.

Good to see you back, Guido.

-- Posted by Ducky on Thu, Dec 13, 2007, at 12:48 PM

Guido! So good to see you on the blogs again! You've been missed!

I think we can forgive the materialism of those wonderful Christmas baseball items!

As for the world of Matt Dillon and the Cartwright boys, my dear mother was still in that world up until she died a year ago. She always felt that the world looked so much better when Marshall Dillon was in charge.

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Dec 11, 2007, at 5:25 PM

Well,this year due to my post-grad poverty,many of my kith and kin will be able to contribute a story to worst gift ever.

My mother says as long as gas is is so high,it is enough present that the kinfolk drive to SEMO to visit,much less bring presents to people who need nothing. Also,my grandparents aren't getting any richer,so the powers that be have decided any presents have to be homemade/scrapbook/handmade/canned-except for the littlest ones.

I will not be canning,as food borne illness would be a real possibility!

I think my real present will be the gift bag I place my crap/craft in,they can use it to carry the good stuff they get from my other relatives!

It is better to give,if you can just figure out what the heck to give!

-- Posted by Yellow Rose of Essex on Tue, Dec 11, 2007, at 4:43 PM

Very good blog, to bring back memeories. I think my best gift ever(material that is) was the Christmas I was 10 years old. We were poor and lived way out in the country, now I was a sports freak at the young age of 10. I lived it and breathed it, but I never got to play organized ball. We lived so far from town, and my parents whom I loved dearly , just thought sports was a waste of time. So I never got to watch it on TV either, we could just get 2 channels, and my life was filled with Gunsmoke, Bonanza, not Monday night football or baseball. So i used to play baseball with a wooded shovel handle that I widdled down. And my baseball was one that a friend had given me after it was wore out. But it didnt matter i loved them. I remember one day we went to Sikeston to the mall, this happened 2 times a year at the most. I saw Santa Clause there he asked me what I wanted, i told him a new basball bat and a real glove. So even though i told him this, I ever figured i would get it. So this leads me to my best gift ever. Christmas morning 1971, I sprang out of my bed to run to the tree, and I saw 5 presents with my name on them, im thinkng ok 1 is socks, 2 is pajamas, 3 is probably a Tonka Truck.....Ok what was the other 2? I get the presents and I was absolutley amazed, I opened them up and there was a brand new Aluminum baseball bat, Now I had never even seen any thing except wood, I couldnt believe it, so i rushed to open the other one, a brand new Red White and Blue Baseball glove. Now this wasnt some ole cheap glove this was a Rawlings, which at the time was top of the line. I couldnt believe it, I had the best Christmas ever, A new Aluminum bat And a new Glove.I think about that Christmas from time to time, I remember the look on my DAds face he just smiled real big. So now that i am a father im thinking those might have meant as much to him as they did me. The day my father passed away which was years later, I put that glove in his casket with him. Not sure I will ever have another one quite that special.......

-- Posted by Guido Sarducci on Tue, Dec 11, 2007, at 6:55 AM

I lost count of my daughter's Barbie dolls after number 21.

But my favorite gift of HERS was the wooden doll closet that my mom made for her Barbies. Then, she sewed the most wonderful Barbie outfits by hand and hung them in the closet on little hangers that she fashioned out of wire.

What a priceless present! I even love to sit down and play with it!

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Dec 10, 2007, at 9:15 PM

It's funny, after reading this blog I sat here and tried to remember past Christmas gifts, good or bad. I don't remember many at all. I remember a pretty, blonde baby doll I named Cynthia, who later got a knife in the belly when a neighor boy was throwing his knife at the tree under which she and her doll friends sat. Horrors. I remember my first Barbie with her platinum blonde bubble cut hairdo.

There were countless other gifts through the years, but none come to mind. What I remember most is the gifts other members of the family received or the ones I gave them. It seems like it was more fun for me to watch other people open gifts than opening my own. I'm still better at giving gifts than receiving them.

Dr. Sigmund would probably turn that into some kind of profound psychological insight into my character. I prefer to think it just proves the old saying that it's better to give than to receive.

-- Posted by Ducky on Mon, Dec 10, 2007, at 1:08 PM

One gift that I thought was horrible when I was twelve is now a treasure. My two younger brothers once got together and bought me not one, but two, bottles of very cheap perfume, each perched on the back of a tacky gold-plated terrier. I think they paid 10 cents each for the items, which they bought at the local dime store. They were so proud of their gifts!

I don't have the perfume anymore (thank goodness), but I have one of the terriers tucked back somewhere.

The memory is all the more wonderful because it happened when the family was still together.

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Dec 7, 2007, at 7:16 AM

Well,my sweet mother-in-law was supposed to be the butt of a gag gift.

My father-in-law got my mother-in-law football St.Louis Cardinals tickets(that tells you how long ago this was)for six.He bragged about this prank,"boy was she mad,I got her good" to everybody.

It was almost as funny when he was sitting there with her,my sister-in-laws and me "enjoying" the game.Oops,when he had to buy tickets for "his" boys they were on the moon and the boys refused to sit with him.They knew better than dear old Pop.

Oh,how he enjoyed all our endless,pointless questions about anything. (I never knew how retarded I was,cause he asked me a few times) our tampax vs.kotex debate at field goal.My mother-in-law used this time to explain menopause to us younger women.It was the gift that kept on giving.I think that was the last gag gift he ever gave her.My darling hubby is an even bigger smart aleck than me,so the story is better when he tells it-Pops snuck over to their seats and offered them cash if one of them would trade seats with him

Pops has since passed away,but we still laugh every Christmas when we get together,it was so cold,but one of the best days of my life.

-- Posted by AngelinaJolie on Sat, Dec 1, 2007, at 11:37 AM

My dad once got my mother an Ithaca Featherweight rifle (shotgun? I don't know the difference) for Christmas. She didn't hunt, so you know who used the rifle!

-- Posted by goat lady on Sat, Dec 1, 2007, at 9:20 AM

I'm thinking we should now expound on "The Worst Gift" since Cake mentioned the ironing board. I recall the suggestion of a chain saw one year from someone who, for that reason and many more, no longer takes up space in my house.

-- Posted by bringwine on Fri, Nov 30, 2007, at 7:14 PM

My second husband once gave me an ironing board for Christmas. God rest his soul.

-- Posted by letseatcake633 on Fri, Nov 30, 2007, at 7:03 PM

Great! Where do we sign up??

I wonder how much the converter box price is to begin with? Didn't occur to me that we wouldn't have to buy a whole new TV. That's a relief!

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, Nov 29, 2007, at 4:48 PM

One of my best gifts as a young child was a beautiful pop-up book with a Christmas story. As a teen, a special present was similar to Minnie's record player. Mine was a portable stereo, a new invention, with speakers that unhooked from the suitcase-like container. Goat lady, your congress people are making available $40.00 coupons to every household in the country for a converter box for our tv's. You can applaud or condemn that, take your pick.

-- Posted by gardengirl on Thu, Nov 29, 2007, at 12:53 PM

A bunch of those old TVs work, but just wait until we have to switch from analog to digital. As I understand it, NONE of our old TVs will work, and we'll all have to go out and buy new ones. Is that not the MOST RIDICULOUS thing you ever heard? How our U.S. Congress could have voted for such a scheme is beyond me!

However, I don't want to hijack Minnie's lovely Christmas blog -- so I'll join that discussion!

I can't remember if these items were Christmas presents, but they're two of my most treasured presents from the past -- a small metal Hopalong Cassidy radio (no extra features - just an AM radio), and a small powder blue plastic suitcase, which contained a portable hairdryer with a plastic bonnet, attached to a hose!!!

Sadly, I don't have the radio - but the hair dryer is up on a closet shelf. I can't bear to part with it!

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, Nov 29, 2007, at 7:12 AM

My favorite Christmas gift was a 19" Sanyo television. I think I may have been 13. But it was so great because so many other kids already had one, I could finally have something to talk about. My dad busted his buns to get me that t.v. that year. And it's not something I had asked for either. I knew dad couldn't get much, so I never thought of asking for something so expensive.

That was 14 years ago, and that t.v. still works.

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Wed, Nov 28, 2007, at 10:14 PM


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