When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time wishing I was an adult. So, as you might suspect, this led to all sorts of I-want-to-be-an-adult behavior around the holidays. The nice part was that I wanted to get people gifts. The complicated part was that I didn’t have any money to buy the gifts I wanted to share. As usual, my parents worked out a solution by giving each one of us an allotted amount of money to buy presents for the family. So the madness began—not only did my folks have to take care of the real shopping, they also had to help us find things in our price-range that we could give each other on Christmas morning. All while keeping it a secret from the others.
One year, my dad was in charge of taking me out the get my gift for my mom. We went to the jewelry store where he bought her a pair of earrings. I pointed out a few diamond rings that I was interested in, but he said no. We visited various stores all over downtown Lawrence, but nothing we saw that day had the perfect balance of cheap and perfect-for-mom that I was looking for. I was still empty-handed when we finally packed into the car behind Woolworth’s.
We hit the grocery store on the way home. I obediently followed my dad through the aisles, wondering what I could possibly do for my mom for the holidays. Little did I know that all my worries were about to be washed away on aisle 8 at the Dillon’s on 6th street. High on a shelf, in that weird section of the store where they sell cheap pots and pans, I spotted a crystal salad bowl. Although we didn’t eat salads all that much and my mom probably had plenty of bowls that would serve the same purpose, it seemed like the best gift on earth. And at $4.99, it was even within my budget.
I think my mom still has the bowl. If I remember right, she even uses it sometimes for big dinners at the house. I suppose if you consider all the years that have passed, that bowl was a pretty good gift—at least considering the circumstances.