When I got my “Christmas allowance” I had to go out and buy something for my mom and dad and brother. I had finally come to the age where I could buy something for someone else on my own. I had come of age to make a decision.
It wasn’t a lot of money as I recall, but I probably spent most of it on me. I only had two places I could walk to shop. That limited my selection of choices.
My brother was easy. A pen or a tie clip, wrapped in newsprint and I was done. Mom was pretty easy too. An apron or some cheap perfume or a decorated magnate for the refrigerator would make her appear happy and I could wrap them up in the Sunday comics. And if my presents weren’t perfect there was always another present under the tree for both with my name on it. Dad was a sharp cookie.
What to get the guy you know nothing about? Sure he might be called dad, but you don’t know what he likes or dislikes or really anything about him. I knew he wore a suit to work but I couldn’t afford one of those. I don’t even remember what kind of shoes he wore. He just went to work and came home and watched television. I could get him a quart of ice milk for he liked that but it would melt before Christmas.
I did know he would use Old Spice and they sold that at the drugstore at a price I could afford. I had enough money to buy a cheap tie that he would wear and then change in the car. Socks were pretty much none personal and a comb would be lame. I certainly try a book for Reader’s Digest was the common reading stock.
Sometimes I would do some weird drawing or painting. He would smile and I’d never see it again. Sometimes I would try and get something current and topical but those too would disappear.
The memories of Christmas gifts from him also varied from a rotten bicycle that he probably spent most of the night assembling to keep me going to work and out of the house only to get stolen a few months later, a stuffed toy dog when I asked Santa for a puppy or when I unwrapped a baby doll when my hair was getting a bit too long still stick in my mind. I can’t remember anything I gave him that made a dent in his emotion.
If dad was here today, and he would be really old, I think I know more about what I would get him. “Dad”, I would say, “music has come a long way but I think you would like to listen to this. Enjoy.”