Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Gifts

Do kids still ask Santa to bring them a puppy or kitten for Christmas? Or has the age of electronics replaced that Christmas wish?

One year my older brother, Dan, got a puppy as either a Christmas gift or an Easter present. It must have been Easter because Santa wears glasses to correct short-sightedness.

Soon the puppy grew into a large collie. Apparently this eventuality was not considered prior to the presentation of the Easter gift basket. Before the dog was one year old it was decided that a big dog didn’t belong in town. What a surprise - who saw that coming? Stupid Easter Bunny - what was he (or she) thinking? The dog was given to a family that lived on a farm. Perhaps the dog was presented as a gift.

Return lines that stretch from December 26th into the next year provide plenty of proof that many gifts are neither perfect nor loved. I once received a gift of food that was so ancient the expiration date was printed on papyrus. As I carefully handled the thoughtful and expensive gift the giver explained her reasoning. “I was going to throw it out and then I thought why not give it to you.” Without a gift receipt I could only share my good fortune with my two chickens, Sam and Ella.

However, this was not the first time that I was given food as a gift. I have happily received cashews, peanuts (both blanched and unblanched), and fruit. I also got a potato for Christmas one year.

The uncooked potato was placed under the tree for me by Santa when I was about eight years old. I have not trusted that corpulent Kris Kringle since then.

The year leading up to that Christmas had been a difficult one for me and my parents. I, being the middle child, took the brunt of their wrath. I am more than willing to shoulder my share of that burden – but let’s look at the facts.

Elevators have buttons to push when you want to summon one. Why shouldn’t the same logic apply to escalators? Mom and Dad, along with my two brothers and two sisters were Christmas shopping at Southdale. Having lost interest in hiding under the dress racks, and no longer able to find cigarette butts to drop on the heads of unsuspecting shoppers, I did a little exploring.
Just slightly underneath the curve of the railing at the base of an escalator (1967 model year) was a button that if pressed would stop the machine. On some of the later models it is labeled EMERGENCY STOP BUTTON.

I pushed it and the escalator stopped moving. A second panicked push did not restart it. Immediately my father was at my side.

“What happened?” he growled.

“I don’t know, I just pushed this button,” I explained as I crouched down to show him. My crouching had a two-fold purpose. I could more comfortably point to the button, and from this position it was impossible to spank me.

Now that the escalator had been magically transformed into stairs the stranded shoppers looked to my father for guidance.

“Now what are we supposed to do?” whined one lady.

“Walk,” Dad replied.

Now that I’m 50 I take the stairs whenever I can. I will also go on walks with Buddy, our Black Lab/Great Dane mix. When we got him a year ago he was already full-grown at over one-hundred pounds with his head at kitchen table height. We live in the country, where there is plenty of room for a dog of any size.

1 comment:

  1. Good Good job again! I probably like this stuff more than anyone because I was there. I think you came pretty close to shutting down Southdale all by yourself. Nobody was injured and you never went to Redwing, but Mom was still pretty mortified and Terry was happy hiding under the coat racks. There is a movie in here somewhere. Love you, Dan