There’s No Such Thing As A Stupid Gift
December 18, 2007
My granny was the oldest girl of 6 children who were raised by a widow during the great depression. To say they struggled would be an understatement. Upon coming of age, each of the children pretty much went their own seperate ways. Some settled down in the area they were raised, and some moved off, but they didn’t really maintain contact with each other.
To make a long and boring story short, her oldest brother showed up in our hometown this past summer. After a 50 year absence, in which his siblings assumed he had passed away, he arrived, broke and destitute, with his only possessions being the clothes on his back. He wanted my granny, to take care of him, which she begrudgingly is doing. She put him up in a local motel, takes care of his finances, takes him to run errands, and attends to any other needs he has.
He is a simple man, who wants to lead a very minimal lifestyle. He refused offers to help him find an apartment, and prefers to live in the cheap motel, although it is located in an area that is known for drugs and violence. He doesn’t want a real home, he says it will be too hard on him to have to take care of. At the motel, it’s just one room, which they are responsible for cleaning and supplying.
He’s a loner, he keeps to himself, and doesn’t like crowds. In the two times I have been in his presence, we haven’t talked alot, but I’m a big softie, and I feel so bad for him, for the hard life he has led, and for his current lonely existence. He has been invited to our family’s Christmas celebration at my granny’s house. J and I decided to get him a small gift, so that he wouldn’t be left out of the festivities. I knew, from talking to my granny, that he had been unable to find a specific brand of soap that he prefered, and that the only medicinal product he uses is Absorbine Jr. Here is J and my dialogue, from our recent trip to the local Wal-Mart:
J: Why is there Lava soap and Absorbine Jr. in the cart.
Me: Because, that’s what my uncle uses.
J: Oh, that’s for him.
J: Ok, well, it’s nice of you to pick that stuff up for him, but what are you going to get him for Christmas.
Me: Lava soap and Absorbine Jr.
J: OKAY, well, that’s a stupid gift.
A stupid gift!! What exactly are you supposed to get your homeless great-uncle who you’ve only met twice, who returned from the dead? A new tie? A singing santa? A Hummell figurine? I choose something practical, that I know he will use, which, I’m sure, will be more than he will get from most of the guests at the celebration. Granted it’s noting fancy or expensive, but I hope, to my great-uncle, it conveys that someone is thinking about him, that he’s not alone in the world, that someone cares.