Last Minute Gifting


I have always been known as a last minute gifter if at all. There always was that unwritten competition between me and my brothers to out do each other and I seldom won. Being younger I was working with less income than my 2 older brothers and my younger brother felt safe in the fact that he was still a gift from heaven. It was Christmas Eve Day in 1967 and I was working for Ad Services at the Des Moines Register and Tribune (remember there was 2 papers) which was in the middle of Downtown Des Moines. These were the days preceding malls and shopping centers. I was scheduled to get off at 3 pm and figured this would give me enough time to pick up a couple of gifts. Around 2:30 our manager informed us we would have to work until 6 pm. As I headed to my parents house I was desperately searching the horizon for a store that was open to get those last minute gifts and there it was, Super America a gas convenience store of yesteryear. Hmmm, something practical and useful and there it was. As I entered the folks house I asked for some wrapping paper and headed into another room to demonstrate why men should never be allowed to wrap. Later in the evening as we gathered around to unwrap gifts I will never forget the look of surprise as my mom unwrapped her brand new ratchet wrench set and my dad his case of Quaker State 10w30 oil. The look on my brothers faces as they realized I once again moved myself down the "inheritance ladder' just below the parakeet. Only one thing could make me feel lower, and WHAM! here it came "We'll certainly be able to put these to good use." the obligatory remark of parents to hide their disappointment and demonstrate the fact that they expected no more from a middle child. One would think that would be a life changing moment but no I'm proud to say the tradition continues.

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