Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Yes Billy Bob, There is a Santa Clause

My sister is a great gift giver.

(By the way, I have two sisters. So, dear readers, don't assume that when I say "my sister", I am always speaking of she who now blogs. Although I almost always am. But she doesn't need to know that, because I have sung her praises far to often and loudly recently and little sisters with fat heads can be highly irritating, even when they are grown women.)

Anyway, she always manages to find that perfect thing, even on a budget. Her gifts always make a person feel as if she searched the ends of the earth to find exactly that which you most needed and wanted.

Last Christmas she gave me a mug. You might consider that a somewhat impersonal gift; something one might give to their secretary or the post man. But this mug was one of those design it yourself deals, and it bore a painting by one of my favorite artists, and a quote by one of my favorite authors. The subject of both, was one of my most fervent passions.

Study At A Reading Desk, by Lord Frederic Leighton

"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not the pleasure of a good novel, must be intolerably stupid"
~Jane Austen

See what I mean?

Husband is a good gifter too. One year shortly after we were married, he stood in line for six hours at a book signing to get a first edition signed by my then favorite author, Anne Rice. Although my tastes have matured a lot since then, it is still one of my most treasured posessions, because Husband is not a reader. And yet he understood what a gift like that would mean to me, and went to great lengths to procure it.

I did not get the gifting gene. My gift choices, while well intentioned, are usually pretty uninspired.

But every once in a while, I have a stroke of gifting genius. And because those instances are fairly infrequent, when I cannot bring an idea to fruition, it really chaps my ass.

Years ago, my father in law (we'll call him "Billy Bob" because otherwise my title makes absolutely no sense) mentioned that he would like to find a Buddy L Co-Cola truck like the one he had when he was a boy.

(In actuality, it is about the size of a matchbox car.)

Billy Bob grew up in a small rural Southern town. Like many families in that town, his did not have a great deal of money. The posessions they had were fiercely prized and abandoned only when they could no longer be patched up or cobbled together.

HE played with his precious truck until it was little more than a hunk of dented, twisted steel. He doesn't recall what happened to it, but he recalls how much he loved it. It was a gift from his Daddy, who has been gone for many years now, but the mention of whom still brings tears to his eyes.

I decided it would be a real hoot if I could find one for him.

Little did I know that Co-Cola trucks were only yellow for a few years, and so, original toy vehicles from that era are extremely rare and highly sought after.

I found quite a few on ebay, but I watched in shock and amazement as the bid on auction after auction soared far higher than I could ever afford. One, in mint condition with all the original coke trays and the original dolly sold for over $500. I've seen them go for over $100 even in very, very poor condition, with paint flaking and wheels missing and axles buckling.

I resigned myself to the fact that I would likely never be able to grant him his wish.

But still, on occasion, I would check, just to see if I might get lucky.

Yesterday, I got lucky.

Some hapless yard saler who obviously did not know what he had found, put one up for auction with a Buy it Now of SEVENTY DOLLARS and nobody had bid on it. Just to give you some perspective, the one pictured above was listed on an antique dealer's site for $185. The one I purchased is in much, much better condition, although it's missing the Coke cases. Those can be purchased fairly inexpensively though, so I'm not too concerned.

I just don't stumble across bargains like that. I am the anti-bargain. Seriously. And people will almost always pay more for the thing I am after than I ever even thought about paying.

So to say that I was excited would be a huge understatement. Truth be told, I was just about peeing in my pants.

I had a good gift idea and it finally panned out. It took years, but who's counting? YAY.

I can't wait to see his face when he opens it. And I hope it means as much to Billy Bob to get the truck as it means to me to be able to give it to him. It's not a useful thing. It's not a beautiful thing. It's not a thing that will cure his baldness or give him back his youth. But maybe, it will make is seem a little less distant for a moment or two.

I would like to hear from you. What was the best gift you ever got? What was the best gift you ever gave? Why was it the best? What did it mean to you?


  • At 12:38 PM, Blogger flutter said…

    My first Christmas with the Boy, we knew that we were moving to a cold climate from San Diego and I didn't have a winter coat. We were BROKE. I mean like, didn't really know how we were going to eat kind of broke.

    I hadn't met his dad, yet but the Boy had told him about my dilemma, and for Christmas, from this man I'd never met, came a brand new winter coat, in my favorite color.

    I was totally overcome.

  • At 1:33 PM, Blogger Tania said…

    My family kind of sucks at gift-giving, so I don't have a great story to share. I can't wait to hear your FIL's reaction though. Be sure to post it.

  • At 2:39 PM, Blogger Foofa said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At 2:42 PM, Blogger Foofa said…

    The best gift I ever got was a Jabba The Hut toy. My mom had purchased one for me when I was about 8 and I found it in the basement and got very excited. She then returned it because she didn't want her 8yr old daughter playing with Leia chained to Jabba in a bikini. I was very sad on Christmas morning. About three years ago she got me one. I was in tears.

    Ihe best gifts I have given are paintings that I have done for people. Even tough they are pretty simple I have always gotten great reactions.

    Your gift is fantastic. I can attest to the pleasure of getting a good toy even as an adult.

  • At 3:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    About 8-10 years ago, my Oldest Bro's house got flooded and he lost *most* of his 1st editions he's been collecting for , well forever. The one that hurt him the most was his 1E of Ernie Pyle - in England ( MINT and I mean MINT!!! condition) along with his clipping ( orig newspaper ) of Front page death notice.

    I found one for him - wasn't able to locate the clipping, so I got him the Ernie Pyle GI Joe.

    He cried - so I guess I done good.

  • At 8:30 PM, Blogger said…

    omg, he's going to LOVE that gift! You better be prepared for some gruff holding back of tears, I think.

    Best gift...hmmmmm. My MIL gave husband and I a gift certificate for a fabulous sushi restaurant last Christmas. However, we still haven't used it. Babysitting for three kids including a very young one is tough to come by. Hopefully, we'll get out to use it in time for another restaurant gift certificate for this Christmas.

  • At 12:11 AM, Blogger cerebralmum said…

    My uncle makes things with leather, some practical, and some weird. I found an old leather-working tool at a market that could loosely be called an "antique" and bought it. It turned out that not only was it a sweet present, it was quite a rare tool which he didn't have and really wanted.

    Another favorite present I've given was a 50,000 year old insect, fossilised in amber. If you need to buy something for a completely un-materialistic geek-genius, I highly recommend it.

  • At 3:27 AM, Blogger Polgara said…

    Husband has a T-shirt he used to wear to go out when he was younger which once was black with a white design, is now brown with holes! He only wears it round the house nowadays but wont part with it as it is a one off.
    I managed to get it recreated into a new T-shirt for him.
    He loved it :)

  • At 9:21 AM, Blogger Avalon said…

    That is a wonderful thing to have done for Billy Bob and I hope it brings him lots of joy.

    I think the best gift I ever gave was a pair of bikini underwear to my mother when I was 4 years old. I picked them out myself when my aunt took me shopping. They were bright red and had an inscription of " ring my bells" across the front. They were also a size 2. My mother was probably a size 14 ( clothes) at that time. It still makes her weep with laughter to recall it.

    The best gift I ever got? Well, not really a gift, but my grandmother had handmade a ceramic Christmas tree for herself in the 1960's. After she died, my mother gave it to me. I put it up every year on my bedroom table. It's on a timer, so it lights up my room for the entire month as I fall asleep.

  • At 10:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm not very good at giving original gifts either. A few years ago, there was some trouble within my family, particularly between my sister-in-law and me, but I stumbled across a CD that she had talked of with fondness many times. She'd had the cassette tape of a particular pop group and had listened to it so much she wore it out and her car stereo ate the tape. The CD was only $10 and I was feeling some remorse for some things I shouldn't have said, so I bought it for her. Best $10 I ever spent. She opened it and her face lit up. Across a room full of about 20 people, over shrieking kids throwing paper and bows like confetti, I heard her shout, "Are you serious!?!?" She keeps it in her car, in the 6 disc rotation, and I was able to put aside our differences and remember that gift giving is often times more rewarding than any pile of gifts I could have received.

    I think I'll save the best gifts I've ever received for a post of my own. I started writing it here, but the comment was getting post-length. Thanks for the post topic!

    Be sure to tell us what Billy Bob's reaction is! I can't wait until you give it to him either!

  • At 7:39 PM, Blogger Ms. Skywalker said…

    Best gift I ever got? Honestly, nothing stands out.

    Ever gave? Each year, I try to make gifts for my family. My favorite one was the year I put photos of us sisters in a frame and then painted them to read: "Bonded by birth, our souls entwined, my sisters heart is the same as mine".

    Last year I took photos of our home from the road, each picture a little closer, and framed them with a poem that I wrote that said, "No matter the roads we choose to roam, none's so close as the road home".

    One year, I typed the history of the war that my grandfather had written and had it bound for him, then made copies for all of my aunts and uncles.

    Um, shall I continue? :) Hey, you asked.

  • At 9:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm also an uninspired gift-giver, which I actually find quite painful. But DH is often quite good at this (having had a mother of exceedingly good taste:-) ), and I hope this year for once to give him something he'll really appreciate - a trip from our frozen northeast home to Houston to visit his elderly, not-well, dad, whom he hasn't seen in way too long. We'll see how it goes!

  • At 12:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hubby SUCKS as a general I am thankful if he can figure out a gift card to a store i like.
    I did have once an inspired boyfriend but he was so over the top he got me opening nite tix to Billy Joel/Elton John for like a 1 month anniversary thing....he was very good @ stuff like that though.

    I try to be inspired and usually can do pretty well. I also tend to be cheap when i can be.

    My hubby has his "team" anything to do with his team is golden. I am going to have the golden prize this year I got him "team" floor mats for his new truck along with a bumper sticker and hitch coverplate. I could not do anything else and I will be rocking right on into feb and time to look for his b day.

  • At 12:55 AM, Blogger painted maypole said…

    hmmm.. those are tough questions. I can't think of one that stands out as the best, but good gifts arlways take into consideration what the the reciever is passionate about, and also the relationship between the giver and the receiver. I love to give personal type gifts - like the silly photo book I made for my college roommate about this infamous statueat our college going on a journey to find us, finally catching up with us at NYC. It was silly and fun, and told our story at the same time that it told the story of "Torso"

  • At 4:50 PM, Blogger Lisa said…

    I think this is the perfect gift to cherish. Try as I may to search endlessly for the perfect gifts for everyone, I'm never really sure that I really hit the mark. I have been lucky to receive several wonderful gifts over the years but if I could only pick one I think it would have to be the Chrissy doll I begged for but was sure I would never get. Santa did bring her, and I still have her now, tucked safely in her box in my closet.

  • At 2:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I just wonder why you celebrate CHRISTmas when you don't believe in God...Christ? Seems odd to me...??
    You are a gifted writer I enjoy your wit and insight.


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