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Friday, December 31, 2010


Christmas. Father’s Day. Dad’s Birthday. All perplexing dilemmas. What do you give to the man who refers to gifts as “prizes”?

A daughter’s need to please her parents never fades. But pleasing my mother is usually quite simple. (Of course, she'd never tell me if she hated a gift anyway. She’s much too gracious.) But my dad?  He’d let me know if the wrapping paper wasn't quite right. After all, forthrightness is character-building. Oh what the heck - it’s all in good fun.

Anyway, this year an idea struck me in the realm of gift-giving. But first - a bit o' history about dear old Dad. Besides the fact that he’s difficult to buy for (what father isn’t?), he also happens to be a motorcycle enthusiast. And I'm not talking about your proverbial motorcycle guy. Show up with a brand new Harley Fatboy and you’ll get a polite smile. (He is genuinely a nice guy.) But show up with a '46 Indian Chief…now you’re talking turkey. You'll become inducted into the small fraternity my dad considers friends.  As a matter of fact, here’s the kind of stuff my Dad gets excited about – 
Harley JD Left Gas / Oil Tank, 1925-1929
Rusty gas tank

Rust. Not chrome.

So last summer when he bought this fancy “new” 1984 Harley FX, equipped with a radio (c'mon Dad!), I couldn’t help but give my old man some guff. (Seriously -this is the guy who drove across South Dakota on a '45 Indian Bobber only a few years ago...I probably don't have the year correct on that Indian or the model on that Harley - will certainly receive a call on that.) So, kicking the tires on his shiny new motorcycle just didn't fit the bill. I asked him several times, “Why didn’t you just buy a Honda, Dad?” 

A Honda.  An idea struck me….One day, a few weeks before Christmas:

"Hey Dad! I got your Christmas present. And it involves motorcycles.”

I could see the gleam in his eyes....then the day came. On eve of Christmas. As he unwrapped the gift...and noticed the label on the box.

“It IS from a motorcycle superstore. You weren’t kidding!” He almost smiled, his almost-smile.

Then as logo-recognition set in, the excitement waned. Noticeably. Time stood still. 

“Oh, no. No. No.”  Slowly, he took the t-shirt out of the box. The t-shirt  -- that so audaciously displayed Honda's proud emblem.

Alex spoke up, “Oh Grandpa – that looks cool. I’ll wear it.”

“I’d never let my granddaughter wear that,” he spoke swiftly and sharply.

I sat back in my corner quietly and watched the scene play out. My prank had worked - and it had worked well, without suspicion. And with great laughter by all – except perhaps by the victim.

What will become of the Honda t-shirt? Only time will tell. It may come back haunt me. But most likely, I imagine, the t-shirt will be become shredded garage rags… 


Rubi J said...

What I saw Christmas Eve when your day open his gift was a new night shirt for me. Thank you.

Rubi J said...

I meant "dad" not "day".

Stef Kramer said...

Here the email I received from my Dad after he read my blog -

"It was a 47 chief motor in a 45 chief frame.Otherwise you nailed it."