Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Just What I've Always Wanted

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Just What I've Always Wanted

Article excerpt

No matter how humble the contents of a package, Dad always took care to appreciate the time and thought that went into selecting a store-bought gift or the skill (or effort to be skilled) that went into making one. When we were young and operating on income from good grades, we often relied on imagination to make up for a shortage of shopping funds. Dad beamed with pleasure upon opening a lanyard coin pouch made at summer camp, a note redeemable for washing and waxing his car, or a homemade card with a message of a prayer said in his honor.

But even when our buying power increased through money from odd jobs and baby-sitting, we sometimes ran short on imagination. Still, Father made our bland gifts seem like dreams come true. When he opened a plain white shirt just like the ones he wore to work, he'd appear delightfully jolted as if he'd never seen anything like it. He'd pull the shirt out of the bag reverently and comment on its features. "Oh, this is really nice," he'd say, pointing out the button-down collar or extra-long shirttail. Then he'd carefully remove the packaging and try it on. "It's exactly what I needed," he'd say several times in between praising the quality of workmanship and tidiness of the crisp, new fabric. All the while, we watched, wallowing in the pleasure of pleasing Dad. …

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