This Christmas, I got a Canon 430 EX II flash to go with my semi-fancy Canon DSLR. I also have two zoom lenses for the camera. The reason all this is just semi-fancy is I have a semi-pro camera body, not a super-duper one. It’s not the best Christmas present I ever got; maybe it’s second though. First, is the joyous reaction I got from my wife on Christmas Eve so long ago she wasn’t my wife and she hadn’t even been canonized as Saint Karen yet (she has to be a saint to put up with me).
I got her an engagement ring and while she was not surprised, she was thrilled. I wasn’t surprise either, when she said, “Yes.” And I don’t know if I was delighted or thrilled; maybe both. The reason I say she was thrilled is we went to midnight mass and she sat in church, holding the ring toward various light sources to see it sparkle. I was thrilled watching her sparkle too.
I don’t really remember being overjoyed at receiving any toy from my childhood, but I do remember two Christmas presents I wanted very much, one of which came as no surprise and the other of which was both great and awful.
No surprise: I wanted barbells for Christmas. I thought, mistakenly as it turned out, that I could and would use them to turn myself into a sleek, muscular specimen. My dad had what we now call COPD, a very bad case of it. He couldn’t do much in the way of physical labor. My mom came home one night and asked me to bring a box from the trunk of her car into our house. The box was no bigger than a foot on a side, but it was the heaviest thing you can imagine in a box that small. What’s that? Weight plates for a barbell set. It’s not easy to gift wrap the bar for a barbell set, but my help wasn’t needed to get that into the house. Still, if you should receive a one-cubic foot box that weighs 100 pounds or so, it’s probably plates for a barbell.
Great and awful: At a time when very few people had home tape recorders, my Uncle George had a nice one, and, he let me use it when I was at his house. But, he lived 60 miles and three tolls from me and I was too young to drive. I wanted one of my own. I told my parents that while Uncle George’s recorder was a good one, newer models of the same brand had a reputation for unreliability. But I was a teenager, so what the heck would I know? My folks bought me a tape recorder, the unreliable model of the same brand Uncle George owned. When I opened the box, the case was cracked. It did work, but the case was cracked. I got the cracked piece replaced, but my machine was at least as unreliable as its reputation. I had it repaired again, and again, and again until I got tired of the effort and became a broadcaster so I wouldn’t have to pay for tape recorders anymore.
I hope you were pleased with whatever you got for Christmas, or at least pleased with the thought behind it. The thought is, after all, what counts. I also hope you have a great New Year celebration. I won’t be in Times Square on New Year’s. When my dad was a cop, he hated that duty so much he passed that distaste on to me and I’ve never had any desire to go.