Ever since my brother Dave moved to Virginia, it's become standard procedure that the family who are here gather for breakfast (if you haven't eaten my mom's breakfast casserole, I contend you haven't fully lived) in the morning and then the whole family gathers that evening for a raucous dinner followed by what has become known over the years as the shredding of the paper. That part is more about watching the kids open entirely too many gifts and trying not to go deaf from the din of squealing children. That's probably too negative a term for it, but it's ear-splitting.
Well, this particular year, my parents made it a little more about the grown up kids than usual. We had long ago stopped getting gifts for each other, spending all our gift money on the kids since, though we're by no means wealthy, we all pretty much have everything we need and most of the things we want. Well, this year, it was a little different.
After the kids were finished, Mom and Dad broke out a gift for each of us, their four children. Dave, Barb, and Don each received some sort of gift that was significant to their childhood. I don't remember what Dave and Barb got, but I do remember Don got a toy trash truck because he wanted to be the guy who rides on the back of one when he grew up. He called it being a "momback," which is what he heard a trash man (now known as a sanitation engineer) say to the driver once when he wanted him to back up. Think about it.
Well, I got socks and some meaningless kitchen gadget. I mean, I like to cook, but it wasn't really anything significant. I didn't say anything. I told myself it didn't matter. Everybody else was happy and the family was all together. But I have to admit that I was a little hurt.
Things were winding down and all the shredded paper was being stuffed into trash bags, when Mom sat down beside me. "Did you get everything you wanted for Christmas?" she asked.
"Yeah," I replied diplomatically.
"Good," she said. "Hey, what's that over there? Behind the desk?"
I looked over the back of the couch at the desk, expecting to find a mouse or something.
"I don't see anything," I said.
"Why don't you go check it out?"
So I did. Instead of a mouse, there was a stray Christmas present. It was a long, flat box, perhaps almost three feet long. It was marked, "To Joe From Santa." I had an inkling what it might be, so with great anticipation, I pulled off the ribbon and tore through the wrapping. Sure enough, there it was. A Red Ryder Range Model Air Rifle. It was real beauty. I was so excited as I took it out of the box and loaded it so I could go out back and take on Black Bart and his evil posse.
I'm happy to report I didn't shoot my eye out.
Before I end, I would like to make one last plea to you who read this regarding ClutchMOV's Kickstarter campaign. It's such a wonderful publication that does great things to promote the Mid-Ohio Valley and time to give your support is dwindling away quickly. Please consider supporting it by going here.