I was near-about done with wrapping Christmas presents. I like to get an early start; and more importantly an early finish. As I plowed my way through this self-appointed task, the love of my life and Mistress of the Estate had just finished a typical breakfast: hot tea and a Milky Way. She came over to see what I was about.
I fancy there’s a method to it….wrapping presents, I mean; but it eludes me; one look at my counter top would tell you that. There, most of the packages I `cover’ appear to be the work of a right-handed, left-winged political extremist calculated to detonate in some crowded urban area. So I expected some teasing about this. And sure enough she started up. “Are we recycling paper today, Gahvin?”
She began hooting with laughter. “I know I don’t wrap well…” I began.
“That’s not it, Gahvin. You wrap wrong. That’s male wrapping paper. Any nitwit can see that!”
“This nitwit can’t.”
“I’ll stay with you, Gahvin. If ever a man needed intensive home care, it’s you. Look, here’s some female wrapping paper.” So, wrapping Christmas presents, once merely a chore, becomes a reflection of failing intellectual vigor. It isn’t going as well this year as it usually does.
She picked up the present I had bought for Mom and looked at it admiringly. “Gahvin, I’m going into light-headed shock! Such a nice present you picked out! Your Mom will never believe her ears when she sees this!”
I had used up one roll of paper [No, I don’t know if it was male or female] and she snatched up the large cardboard tube that I had discarded. She tapped me on the head with it as I bent forward laboriously trussing electrical tape around and around my package [my staple gun having given out.] Thub. Thub. “Something sounds funny here, Gahvin. I wonder if It’s the tube or your nuggin that’s hollow? Whatchu think, Gahvin?”
“You don’t want to know what I’m thinking.”
“You’ve got a growl on your face. Now don’t get all grumpy, Gahvin. Tell you why. Sandy Claws is coming to town!” Then she started making noises through the end of the tube, playing it like an Alp horn. “AAH oo Gah! AAH oo Gah! Now hear this: Christmas is coming!” She began her version of Christmas carols, “Sidewalks sing! Are you glistening? In the lane, snow is listening; It’s a beautiful night/ To go fly a kite …”. I think I made that last part up, Gahvin.”
“Hang on to that day job at all costs….”
As any hopes I had for a rational Christmas sank slowly beneath the waves, she quizzed me, “Now, what are the two main things to remember about Christmas shopping, Gahvin?”
“`It’s not the thought, it’s what you paid for it’…”
“Right. And?” I went blank.
“Keep those receipts so I can take everything back and exchange them and shop some more.”
If she got a present from Archangel Gabriel she’d probably try to return it.
“Oh yeah. A central theme of Christmas and I forget it.”
“I think your little mind doesn’t have much traction, Gahvin. One of your belts is up there slippin’.”
Not long ago it was my birthday and she wanted to do something special.
“I’m almost ready for your party, Gahvin. Even got the fire permit. Had to; you exceed the allowable number of candles. At your age they say the flame on the cake will be the equivalent of a fire in a high-rise. They promise to have a hook and ladder standing by.
“And I was going to bake you a cake. But now I can’t do it.”
“The recipe says I need two 9 inch cake pans.”
“I have three of them, Gahvin; I have too many. So I can’t do the cake. Why don’t we open a can of fruit cocktail while we sing you that song….`When I Am Old and Feeble and One Foot in the Grave’?”
“Oh. If you’d rather sing that one.” “I was really hoping for a cake.” “We’ll put a candle on the lid and call it a fruit cake, Gahv.”