Friday, January 09, 2015

Cold Case: The "To Gift Or Not To Gift" Episode

It's well past the holidays but I still received a number of Christmas presents this week. This entry is  from December 28, 2005, and it is the story of Dad's attempt one Christmas at gift giving.

I love Cold Case. For the non-viewer, Cold Case is a Sunday evening CBS crime drama. It boasts a diverse group of police who try to crack unsolved crimes, some decades old. My favorite character is Detective Lily Rush, played by Kathryn Morris. Rush, a tortured soul in constant battle with her formerly drug addicted sister who always steals her boyfriends, is brilliant but fragile. The staple of Cold Case is the flashback. The present and the past are interchangeable as the story is unraveled and the truth comes into focus. In fiction as in reality, the past explains the present.

My family is very traditional when it comes to Christmas and gifts. We have always opened our presents on Christmas Eve because that is when my dad's family opened theirs. The Hawleys have a routine in the exchange process; youngest to oldest or vice versa depending on the year. Sufficient oohing and aahing time is factored into the procedure. This year, the elders got to go first and I was fifth in line. On the second or third pass, I was handed a nice package that came from my folks. By the wrapping and the shape/weight of the box, I assumed it contained clothes of some sort. When I opened the present, I was speechless. Inside the box were two dress shirts, one made by Van Heusen and one from Arrow. That was unremarkable. What caught me off guard was this- they were the same two shirts my folks gave me last year. This is where the Cold Case angle comes in.

I am a conservative dresser. My closet is stocked with T-shirts and long sleeve oxford dress shirts, no polo shirts or sweater/pullovers. The dress shirts I am comfortable with come in two colors, white or light blue. I can deal with pinstripes and small check patterns but I don't stray far from the path. Dad doesn't share my taste. The Van Heusen shirt is rust colored and the Arrow shirt is purple. When Dad sensed my hesitation last Christmas Eve, he graciously told me to go buy two different shirts and he would wear those two himself. How did they end up under the tree again? In Dad's defense, Mom's Alzheimer's has left her unable to help with any holiday preparations. Dad has the responsibility of putting Christmas on, from getting the tree to buying the food to making sure the house is in order to purchasing the presents. This year saw twelve of us together for four days, a daunting undertaking for a man whose primary concern is the well-being and safety of his beloved wife of fifty-six years. He never wore the shirts. He found them in a drawer, still folded and in straight from the store condition, and forgot the circumstances of their origins. He also forgot I have no desire to wear anything rust colored or purple! We died laughing with Dad probably the most tickled of all. Once more this Christmas Eve, my father told me to go buy two more shirts which I have already purchased courtesy of Kohls and their After-Christmas Early Bird Sale. Anything that happens two years in a row is even money to evolve into a family tradition so it would not be a shock to find the Van Heusen/Arrow gift set under the tree again next Christmas Eve. Jesus told us that it is better to give than receive. Dad takes tremendous joy in giving, not just in the holiday season but in every month on the calendar. His memory may have had a tiny lapse but his effort is always flawless. Who knows? Maybe he planned the whole thing and the joke is on me. After all, Father Knows Best. Merry Christmas, Dad!

Applicable quote of the day:
"It is possible to give without loving, but is impossible to love without giving."
Richard Braunstein

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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David Michael said...

My father-in-law and his brother give each other the same gift about every three years.

Jon said...

Ive never seen it but seems like a good show. My shows like that are CSI and Without a Trace

JKC said...

Steve - your love for your parents is so evident in your writings. I pray that my sons will have such love and adoration for me. I pray that I have lived in such a way that I will deserve such love and adoration.

It is so good to be able to keep up with you after all these years.

Devin Turner said...

I hate scary shows like that!