Regardless of how tight things were in our household, we always managed a good load at Christmas. Of course, I, at least, was very easy to please. As a young child of oh, I'd say about 5 or 6, I begged and begged for but one simple gift. "Mom, I PROMISE, if you tell Santa to bring me this one gift, I'll never, EVER ask for anything EVER again! I PROMISE". What was this gift that I so badly wanted more than anything else?
A new pillow.
Several years later, however, that promise was long forgotten. We got some pretty dang decent Christmas gifts during our time. Like the Toss 'A Cross game that I accidentally opened one night while my parents were at a party. (it's true, really: it was an accident. I tossed a ball and it landed in the pile of gifts under the tree. When I went to get the ball my foot got caught in the present and it opened!). Or the Talking Football game my brothers got one year (I got to play it, too). Or the bikes.
But the one gift that struck me as the funniest gift of all wasn't a gag gift; it was, in fact, probably the most extravagant gift we'd ever gotten. But you have to hear the story before finding out what the gift was.
We had been opening gifts in the morning. I suspect my parents felt a very slight sense of disappointment in the air as we opened up the last of the gifts. None of us kids would say anything, because we were taught to appreciate what we had, and we weren't by any means rich, and we were all old enough to realize how hard mom and dad worked to provide for us. We figured maybe things were tighter than we'd known. But all the same, we kids couldn't help but notice that there were very few gifts under the tree.
When we finished unwrapping the gifts, my parents asked one of my brothers to go to the basement to get a trash bag for all the wrappings. Off he went, while the rest of us looked over our loot. A few minutes went by and my parents started looking at each other and wondering aloud what was taking my brother so long down there. Still more minutes went by without a sound from below. Still more odd looks between our parents. Then, all of a sudden, a holler from the bowels of the house:
"OH MY GOSH! OH MY GOSH! OH MY GOSSSSSSHHHHH!".
My parents started laughing, and my other brother and I bolted down to the cellar where we found the one brother standing, staring at the biggest gift we'd ever gotten, fully assembled:Our parents joined us downstairs, still laughing. Through their guffaws, they had to ask my brother: "How in the world did you MISS this thing?" I don't think I'd ever seen my brother looking so sheepish and moreover, speechless. In fact, I don't think I've seen him speechless since.
Oh, did you ask if I ever got that pillow I'd asked for?
Yes, and I did truly reneg on the promise I'd made to never ask for anything ever again!