Caution: May Contain Nuts, Dead Rodents

If you decided to read this post hoping that something wonderful was going to happen to myself, or my sisters Lindy and Sissy, prepare to be disappointed. Today I am writing about the Christmas gift experiences Sissy had with her biological dad Ed.

When Sissy was 16, she came home loudly proclaiming that her dad was going to provide the “best Christmas present she had ever received.” Ed told her that she would love it and that it was something every young girl would like. Are you beginning to get a clue to what the gift might be?

Ed continued bragging about the world’s most wonderful gift and Lindy, Sissy, and I were convinced we knew what it was. Yes, we were sure he was surprising Sissy with a new car. There was absolutely no doubt in our minds and we were all looking forward to riding in it.

On Christmas night that year, Sissy came home without a new car.  Instead she carried in her arms her Christmas present from her dad.

He got me a picture…

she wailed.

Of himself!

We all stared at the picture, but we were too stunned to laugh. Besides, we really couldn’t laugh when Sissy was so upset. Later, after Sissy had (somewhat) calmed herself, we discussed with her the fact that Ed was (among other things) an egomaniac and that in his self-centered, addled mind, he probably thought an 8 by 10 glossy of himself was the greatest gift in the world.

The next year Ed started building up that year’s Christmas present from him to Sissy in just the same way. He began talking about how terrific it was.

Is it another picture of you?

Sissy bitterly inquired. Being (among other things) the town drunk, Ed did not catch on to his daughter’s sense of underwhelm at the self-portrait from last year.

Oh no.

Ed replied.

For this year’s gift, I’ve actually managed to top last year’s!

mink collarThe gift to beat all gifts turned out to be a little mink collar. Picture two little dead rodents forming an oval, with each one’s mouth clamped onto the other one’s tail. The creature’s beady little eyes stared out lifelessly as their tiny rigor mortis-struck paws (claws and all) reached outward from their furry little corpses.

It managed to be both gaudy and horrifying at the same time. Now growing numb to her deadbeat bio-dad and his drunken ways, Sissy was not hurt or sad this time. She came home laughing wildly. We each took turns examining the collar, as though we were prepping for an autopsy of the deceased little brown weaselly things. We even took turns wearing it for a few minutes at a time while we laughed at how we looked.

From that year on, no one knew when the collar of dead critters would appear. For years, someone got it as a Christmas “present”, usually in an elaborately decorated box.

The corpse collar finally left our family’s possession when we played Bingo at one of our Thanksgiving celebrations and someone outside of our family won it as a prize. I guess they had no clue that we treasured the horrible little thing, and they probably threw it away on their way home.

I can’t imagine what Ed paid for that little mink collar. It’s possible someone paid him to rid themselves of its awful presence. But I will tell you that we received a million dollars worth of fun from it. Gifts are not always about the item. Sometimes, they are about the joy they bring to others. And sometimes that joy is unintentionally gifted.

May all of your gifts bring you joy this year.

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