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The Best Gift I Ever Gave

December 15, 2010

It cracks me up to get these blogging assignments. Don’t get me wrong – I appreciate having someone pay me occasionally to write a blog post, but the topics always make me think of the first week of school and the inevitable “What I Did This Summer” essay.

Here comes the disclosure:

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The Best Gift I Ever Gave
by Suebob Davis

Let me begin by saying that I am not going down the path to non-gift gifts. You know what I’m talking about…”I gave my husband the son he always wanted,” or “I gave that smelly man on the bus bench a kind and loving smile and made his day just a little brighter.”

Nope. Not going there. Materialism is where it’s at, baby. Save the heartstring-tugging for Oprah. Oh, wait, she likes material gifts, too. Even Oprah is on my side. Boo-yah.

The best gift I ever gave was about $15 on Maybe less. It was cheaply constructed of silver plastic and the world’s cheapest chain. And yet it was beloved and used every day.

Let me ‘splain. My dad loved a schedule. He retired in 1980 and he never, ever, til his dying day, ever deviated from his work schedule. Up at 5:15 a.m. Lunch at 11:30. In bed by 9:15 p.m. He never saw an episode of ER or Hill Street Blues or Letterman in his life.

He checked his watch incessantly and was obsessed with time. His favorite criticism was “You’re late!” He was routinely the first person to arrive at anything. The swap meet near our house opens at 8 a.m. on Saturdays, so he went over about 7:15. Did not want to be late.

He went blind gradually. He got so he would hold his watch right up to his face and peer at it to see the time. Even without anywhere to go or much to do, knowing the time was all-important.

Then came the great eye infection. “Great” as in “Great Depression,” not as in “good.” It was terrible and serious and left him almost completely blind.

He did not let this bother him much. If you didn’t know he was blind, you might not have guessed. He soldiered on, as was his tendency. The thing that truly upset him, though, was not knowing the time. It was as if he was cut adrift, unmoored from life.

I went shopping for a talking clock and found this. He could push the button and hear the time. Suddenly he was back in business.

That little cheap thing was his constant companion. He loved it far beyond anything I had ever given him before. He and my mom laughed because it had an alarm that sounded like a rooster crowing, and somehow the alarm got set for 6 pm and could not be unset. Every night during dinner, they had about a minute of rooster serenade.

When we buried Dad’s ashes, my sister made a little packet of things to accompany him on his journey. Photos of mom and of all of us, and, of course, that silly little clock. We like to imagine that, as sun sets over the cemetery, you can hear the faint sound of a rooster crowing.

Christmas Eve Sunrise - Sky-Blue Pink


More stuff I didn’t write:

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More info about Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C)

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  1. December 15, 2010 17:30

    Beautiful! Does tug the heartstrings.🙂

    • December 16, 2010 06:26

      Thank you. I wasn’t sure I wanted to “go there” and mention my dad’s death again, but it was really the gift I have given that was most appreciated.

  2. Elvie permalink
    December 15, 2010 17:46

    Teary. Glad you all remembered to give him the clock to take on his journey.

  3. Sharon Miro permalink
    December 15, 2010 17:51

    Oh, Lord. My Dad had one too! and by god, I swear that the alarm got set and could not be undown–to this day. He and Mom lived with my brother at the end, and the clock is at is at his house. It goes off every day, and he keeps threatening to throw it away, but he never does…

    Great story.

    • December 16, 2010 06:25

      I feel so much better. I just thought I was dumb for not knowing how to unset the alarm!

      • December 16, 2010 08:04

        Ladies, I too am glad not to be alone. I’ve been around 2 or 3 of those talking timepieces and damned if every single one didn’t have an alarm that couldn’t be unset! It’s crazy, but the ability to know the time is a treat. I’d be unmoored just like your dad without it. There’s time for a cup of cocoa if you’re 45 minutes early to the swap meet. Means you don’t have to hurry. I like that.

  4. December 15, 2010 18:00

    I love that he got to take his clock with him. Cockadoodledo!

    • December 16, 2010 06:24

      You might be able to hear him from where you are. He’s buried in the Valley.

  5. December 15, 2010 18:28

    Oh god, my heart is thawing. Damn it, Suebob!

    • December 16, 2010 06:27

      Oh no. You’re looking like Frosty the Snowheart on a sunny day over there.

  6. nec permalink
    December 16, 2010 09:09

    Wow… what a lovely story. I am so glad his timepiece went with him – and it would be so cool to hear a soft cock-a-doodle-doo there – haha.

    • December 16, 2010 09:33

      One of these days I will go up and sit under the oak tree at the cemetery and see what happens!

  7. December 18, 2010 20:23

    Beautiful story. We all have so much in common, no matter where or who we are… so much human experience is shared. What relief when there’s a little humour in the sadness. xxx

    • December 18, 2010 20:32

      I’m glad my family copes by using humor. Better than shooting up the place!

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