Tuesday, December 13, 2011



My parents were great at Christmas time
about giving us money to buy presents.
It was a lesson in being a giver and not just a recipient.
Generally mother went with me until I was old enough to shop alone.

That was a big deal!
I made my plan...
Sproutz Ritz had everything anyone could want.
It was a long walk,
about 11 blocks up one of the busiest streets near my home.
But it felt like it took no time at all.

Newberry's had been an option,
but there was something weird about the way those stores smelled.
They had a serious odor problem that I found hard to ignore.
I had an important task to perform...
the happiness of Christmas morning depended on choosing the right gifts.
I needed to focus.

My older sisters were easy.
Not just any socks, we had those.
But fancy Christmas socks that they could wear to holiday diner.
Useful and fun!
Big Boo loved models... I picked a tank for him to assemble.
The man at the counter did not refuse to sell me glue.
  They didn't worry about kids sniffing glue back then.

Kids still ate paste!

Shopping was going fast and easy.
Only the parents remained.
I searched the entire store before settling on
a pretty china tea cup and saucer with wood violets on it for mother.
But it left me with little money for my dad's present.

That was a real problem.
I spent a long time looking.
Outside the sky began to darken.
I had to be home by dark.
I thought about going home and asking for more money.
But we were supposed to budget, so that was out.

Then I smelled it!
A bottle of men's cologne.
It even had a Bruce Lee type guy doing a karate kick on the front.
This was a real guy gift!
I looked at the price to be sure...
and it would leave me with only a few cents.
I had planned on treating myself to some candy for the walk home,
but buying the present was the right thing to do.
It was perfect!

I patted myself on the back all the way home...
and arrived in the nick of time...
making sure that mother knew I was back home safe.
Then I ran upstairs to wrap my gifts
before anyone could get a peek.
As soon as they were done,
I placed them under the tree.
I was satisfied that everyone would  be thrilled with my choices for them.

Only the gifts we kids picked for the family
went under the tree...
or packages that came from relatives in the mail.
The bulk of presents would not show up until
Christmas morning...
after "Santa" made his delivery.
At this age, I knew that Santa was mother and father.
But it still made Christmas morning extra fun.
A sudden explosion of presents that had not been there the night before!

Christmas morning came with great excitement.
All my gifts so far had been received with happy thanks.
It felt really good!
No one had helped me this time and I managed to get it right.
Cool beans!

Only my father's gift from me remained to be opened.
I watched anxiously as he pulled the wrapping off and set them aside.
He held the box away so that he could read the label.
Then he broke out laughing!

What was this?
This was not a gag gift!
What was so funny about cologne?
I was shocked!

"Smell it!  It smells really nice!"
I shouted.
He did.
"It does smell nice!  Thank you!"
he laughed out.
Then he did as we did with all presents...
passed it to my mom.
My mother read the box and giggled, she passed it on,
then my older sisters read it and giggled in turn.
When my brother laughed too,
I snatched the box away and read it myself.

"Hi Yuk!"

Ok.  I understood.
I had to laugh too.
Guess I should have read the name of the scent.
But it really did smell good...
and to my father's credit,
he wore it,
though he giggled every time he picked it up to put it on.


  1. You have a grand treasure trove of Christmas memories, and I'm enjoying them all. Thanks so much for sharing them!

  2. billy pilgrim- I'd say happy holidays, but prefer Merry Christmas!

    Suldog- Thanks! I have so many good memories of times when I was growing up. I am glad that you enjoy them.

  3. Hi Yuk! Was that a knock off of Hai Karate? Pretty funny. I have good memories of doing that family Christmas shopping, too.

  4. secret agent woman- I'm sure it was a knock off of Hai Karate. It was really cheap, like about two and a half bucks.

  5. That's funny. I guess everyone has stories like that, but not everyone writes about them so artfully :-)

    It reminds me of one Father's Day when my dad sat outside in the car while my sisters and I pooled our money to buy him a new wallet. Lo and behold the teenage neighbor across the street was working the jewelry counter. We didn't have enough money for the wallet we wanted, but he assured us that there was a sale and we had just enough to buy it.

    As we got older we realized he made up the difference out of his own pocket and, over the years, we always thought very kindly of this young man and his family across the street.

    Sadly, we found out that he had contracted AIDS along the way and when his parents died, he sold the house and moved away. We never heard from him again.

    I often wonder how he fared.

  6. Cube- Oh that's a good story! What a nice guy. Sorry to hear he had AIDS. I hope he is doing okay. They have made a lot of strides with helping to slow it down.

  7. very cute story. glad your dad did the kindness of wearing it though.