Monday, December 27, 2010

Rule: do not regift to the original owner.

This week’s poetry bus is being driven by Muse Swings, who set us the task of writing about our worst/most useless/most disturbing/most painful/stupidest/ugliest/least appreciated/most disastrous Christmas present. A nice antidote to all this good cheer going on.
I’m not sure a poem is forthcoming, but I will tell you about my most disappointing gift.
I was 8 or 10, and the apple of my grandfather’s eye. When he came to the house and deposited the presents for my brothers and me under the tree, he held mine out with a mischievous smile and said he just knew I was really going to love it.
Oh my, I thought, I’m going to love it! What could it possibly be? The package was long and thin, with something lumpy inside that rattled when you turned it upside-down. I spent a whole week wondering what could it be, with such an odd shape, going back again and again to shake, squeeze and fondle.
Finally, Christmas came.
Usually, we’d go straight for the gifts from “Santa”, because they were always the most fun. Santa always gave toys, never a pullover. This time I went straight for my mysterious gift from Granddad, tore it open at last, and what dropped into my lap but an old string of beads of mine I’d forgotten at his house over the summer.
Oh, those.
Hey, that’s no present at all.
It was as if my grandfather had given me nothing. I hope I kept from crying, but I don’t think I did. I know he really did think I’d be thrilled.
So, belatedly, Thank you!


Peter Goulding said...

It really is an art form hiding disappointment at a crap present. And children aren't always good at it!

Mrs.Trellis said...

Ah! The magic of Christmas! But you forgave Granddad in time?

NanU said...

Oh, yes, I didn't forget how truly pleased he was to give this to me. His enthousiasm was mostly what got me going in the first place. By the time I was wise enough to realize he was more likely chortling at having his joke on me, I was over it anyway.

steven said...

ouch! nice one grandad!! my kids regift rocks to each other every birthday and every christmas . . . . the difference is, they expect it. steven

FreeFlying said...

Oh no!!! He can't give you something that's already yours! Sadness.


shabby girl said...

Oh! That is a very sad story! I could feel how excited you were!

MuseSwings said...

What a disappointment - and after days of fondling imaginative and wonderful possibilities. Beautifully written. You conveyed the same feelings to your reader that you experienced. I suppose one of these days I'll be able to forgive your granddad too.

NanU said...

After getting over the disappointment, I never held a grudge about that, Muse. Though I was never sure if he meant to please me and was surprised that I wasn't, or if he was just having a "joke".

Retrading rocks sounds like a fine tradition, steven, just so long as you're in on it!

Kat Mortensen said...

The perceptions that we have of others expectations. Wow. I don't think I would have been able to keep my feelings hidden after all that anticipation.
It seems almost cruel, but I'm sure he wasn't thinking that way. It's lovely that you're thanking him.


Argent said...

What a truly human story.

Helen said...

You know what? I think you were instinctively wise beyond your tender years.... a wonderful Holiday story.

Jinksy said...

I think I'd have been pleased that 'lost' was 'found' - I've always hated losing things...

Lucy Westenra said...

Much of delight is in the anticipation! Did Grandad see your disappointment?

NanU said...

At the time, Jinksy, I hated losing things mostly because I'd get yelled at. That particular necklace I didn't miss at all.

He probably did, Lucy. I actually don't remember if he was there for the early morning present attack, or if he came over later in the day, after I had regained some composure (by which time other gifts would have put me back in the mood, and the holiday breakfast was always a special treat). Though he didn't say anything, and I avoided him.