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Tis' the Season for Gifts in My Life

At Christmas one year, we began to talk Christmas gifts that were something clever—something with a worth more than dollars.

One of the best Christmases of those years included these gifts for me. My son, Chris, provided a blue fox ice scraper. My son, Dan, gave a small Wonder Woman action figure. I wore the “chicken god” just received from one of my nine bosses. There was an extravagantly wrapped jewel box package from my brother, Russ.

The ice scraper from Chris was elegance and application combined and to be shared in our Iowa winters. Dan and I had been discussing how to tell the good action figures from the bad ones as it seemed they were all powerful enough to kill or save. We had searched for an action figure on the good side and he had decided on Wonder Woman.

The “chicken god” was from my boss’ trip to Russia. It is a stone worn smooth by the waves and sand and worn through so that it had a hole in it. In the local lore, a stone like this is known as a “chicken god.”

On that Christmas visit to my brother’s, I misplaced this special stone. I called Russ from home and asked if he had seen it. He said “Just a minute.” Then he hollered out “Hey, Carla. You know that crooked burnt cheerio that Pat likes to wear on a string around her neck? She thinks she might have left it in the baby’s room. Will you check?”

I found the “chicken god” at home and it reminds me every Christmas that beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder.

That extravagantly wrapped jewel box under the tree was sewer poison. Tree roots were invading my water lines and I had asked Russ for advice. This was his creative reply. No one had been able to guess what that gloriously wrapped jewel box contained.

Dan and Chris and I decided that Russ’ gift was so gross; we would be gross in reply. The next year we were prepared to send 144 ping pong balls to Russ’ family. That would be one gross. We found the price of a full gross was too much for us so settled for half a gross or 72.

We wrapped each of the 72 ping pong balls individually, complete with bows. The bows gave the cat and dog easy gripping and while we wrapped, they carried the little packages off. We would retrieve them and finally put all in a big bag for delivery at the family Christmas gathering.

Russ and Carla laughed and laughed and their three little girls enjoyed unwrapping and playing with the ping pong balls for weeks afterward. We enjoyed finding the rest of the ones the cat and dog had kept hidden at our place.

Those two are among our best Christmases.

Patricia Rose Ballard Coffie
C1986

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Tags: Christmas, Family, Giving, Iowa, Personal, Stories, stories

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