I can’t say I came up hard, but my Dad sure did, and he made certain we understood how fortunate we were. I remember one time he bought a set of barber clippers to save the family money on haircuts, but abandoned the idea ’cause we were three wild boys who ran and hid in the basement to dodge his “hair-cutting/cost-cutting” measures. The dang thing didn’t cut hair, it pulled it out. (ouch!)
My uncle got an early Buick dealership, and gave Dad a good deal on a new car. When Dad pulled that car up in driveway, I thought we sure enough must be rich, ’cause we the first family on the block with two cars, and one of ’em was fancy and had fins. Dad said it was a luxury, but we needed it ’cause he didn’t want to strand my Mom alone when he was at the hospital, which was much of the time.
For a long time we didn’t have a television, and only got the color version after the neighbors bought one. Their den had a new window air-conditioner, so we began to spend a lot of time over there on summer evenings. After a while Dad gave in and got a color T.V. and one of the AC units too. He never liked color T.V. though; said it made everyone look jaundiced. I went and looked it up, and decided my Dad was very smart to be able to diagnose folks from a distance like that.
My middle brother caught on to the Santa Claus thing when dad had the bike I’d outgrown repainted and put it under the tree for him for Christmas. I told my brother not to tell; the least one of the family still had a few good years left.
Maybe it’s cause I never missed a meal, but I wasn’t a material sort of guy, and didn’t ask for much of anything, even as a kid. I never did get the bumper sticker that said, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” For me it was more, “Good Lord have mercy, enough is plenty, take care of what ya got.”
But then again my people always gave me anything I needed anyway, so I guess I just never did understand what it as like to be abandoned and alone in the world.
Here’s one Christmas present I’ve gotten a number of times. My wife gave me my mandolin for my 45th birthday years ago. (legend has it Darin Aldridge had a hand in that too)
This year I had a little work done on it; refret etc, and it’s good as new. Many a Christmas I’ll put it under the tree and let my wife give the mandolin to me all over again. If you’ve found what works why change?
As I’ve said many times, my wife gave me two beautiful children and a Gibson mandolin and she puts together a fine holiday for the family every year. She never needs to give me anything else. I already have far more than enough for the rest of my time on Earth.
Oh, I got to ramblin’ and forgot to tell you what I got for Christmas this year. You gotta watch out for gray-haired docs with a good memory; they can get like that. My wife got me one of these new Kindles. The kids loaded it up with the new Mark Twain autobiography, “The Complete Works of Mark Twain,” and, you guessed it, “The Mandolin Case.”
I laughed and said, “Did y’all get Mark to sign it?”
The rolled their eyes like kids do. Do my people know me? Two out of the three writers on my Kindle are famous, (Twain and Twain) and the other one is lucky to still be kicking. (me) This Kindle is the ticket.
The Kindle is very cool, but somehow just not that photogenic, so I took a picture of my mandolin instead. In our house, it’s as timeless as Twain. After all, I named a book after it.
Hope y’all had a blessed Christmas, and all the best in 2011,
Oops, had to take the pic down. It displayed the serial number bigger than Dallas, and it didn’t seem like a good idea.