During the month of March, I have been participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by Stacey Shubitz and Ruth Ayres at twowritingteachers.wordpress.com. I have started a new blog because this challenge has inspired me to work on my own creative writing. This post is part of a series about presents that I am working on, inspired by The Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Bryan Obed. My father had a serious accident eleven years ago and I have been trying to figure out a way to write about it ever since. I'm trying to through this series of memoirs about the gifts he has given me and my family members throughout our lives.
For other posts in the series, please head over to tworeflectiveteachers.blogspot.com, which is where I began the series a few days ago.
The Gift of Gold
Losing his freedom was hard for my dad and he tried hard to find ways to resurrect a car for himself. I think that the years when he couldn't drive but still knew a holiday was coming were the hardest for him because he loved to surprise people with gifts. Dad was always resourceful, even as he struggled with memory so none of us should have been surprised when he found a way to surprise us at Christmas time.
I was in the kitchen when the UPS man showed up. We all had been doing some virtual shopping so he was a pretty common visitor at our house. Today, he had a small, heavy box.
"What do you have, there, Tom," I asked. (Is it worrisome that I am on a first name basis with the UPS man?)
"Not sure," he answered. "It's for John Cavo, though. I need a signature."
"My father?" I'm sure that my voice didn't mask my surprise.
Tom looked at the label and nodded. I didn't know that my father had any idea of how to shop on-line. He used the computer for solitaire and that was about it, but Dad had always loved Christmas and giving. Could he have conspired with my husband, perhaps, to order something? Maybe Garth forgot to let me know.
Tom handed me the package and I looked at the label. The return address was from Sunkist. Had Dad ordered oranges? I looked at the box again. It was the size of a half a brick and weighed a lot. An orange would not fit in the box. As I looked at the label more closely, I realized that the small print said 14 carat. What? Something about this worried me. My mother and I had been discussing how to manage my father's credit card since he had been suggesting that he was going to buy himself a new car. I thought that maybe a credit limit would make sense. My mother was struggling with taking away more of his power and independence. I didn't blame her.
"Tom," I asked, as he handed me his clipboard to sign. "Can we return this to the sender?"
He shrugged. "Don't see why not." He looked at the box. "Actually, I think that it has to be sent by the purchaser."
My parents were not home so Tom left the box and I waited until they returned. When they came in, I took my dad aside. At first, he did not seem to know what I was talking about. Had he ordered gold, I wanted to know. Finally, he seemed to remember.
"I think I ordered your mother a present," he said.
"What did you order, Dad?" I asked. "Could it have been gold?"
"That's it," he said. "I got her some gold."
I nodded and I am sure that at that moment, I really didn't know what to do. A box of gold did not seem like the present that my mother would want on Christmas morning, but I understood my dad wanting to get something and I had to appreciate the guy's resourcefulness. He had seen an ad in the paper for gold and had ordered some. He couldn't remember where the ad had been or what the name of the company was. He had just liked it as an idea and had called them up. The person on the receiving end had been happy to process his order and his credit card number, I'm sure.
As it turned out, I helped my dad return the gold, after talking to my mom about it. Then, I took him shopping and helped him pick out a present for her. I don't think that he has initiated buying a present since and the price of gold has skyrocketed.
Who knew that a block of gold could have had sentimental as well as monetary value?
We should have kept it.
Enjoy your gifts,