Unexpected Gifts

Unexpected Gifts

A Story by busterlee



Unexpected Gifts

Gifts didn’t come that often back then when I was eight years old.  Things were rarer and so was money. A trip to the store meant walking around and looking at all of the stuff that I couldn’t buy.  So when my brother in law picked up a small green tackle box at Big K, I figured he was thinking of buying it for himself. But wait, he already had a tackle box.  

“This one’s for you.”  He said. My mouth hung open.  My heart raced. I smiled and then I was flooded by a sense of guilt.  How could I accept a gift from him? Why would he buy something for me?  He picked up a pack of hooks and some lead weights. I bounced on my toes as I walked next to him to the cash register.  I pictured myself carrying my new green tackle box in one hand and my fishing pole in the other while walking to the creek.  

When I visited my Grandfather Cox I would sit on a wooden stool next to his recliner and look through his fishing and hunting magazines.  During one of those visits he looked over at me. “Go get my tackle box.” He said. So I scooted out to the garage and grabbed the handle with both hands and lugged it into the house.  The thing was huge. The lids opened to each side and the drawers spanned out on hinges. So much tackle, so many choices laid out neatly in it’s divided trays.

Paw Paw Cox as we all called him fumbled through carefully.  I watched and wondered what he was up to. Why was he looking through his tackle box?  He picked up a wooden brokeback minnow and a small in line spinner bait. He carefully placed them in my hand.  “They’re yours.” He said.

My dad, my big brother and me rode horses.  Well they rode horses and I rode a pony bareback.  I bounced up and down on Trigger’s back as he struggled to keep up.  Looking back, I think I should have been wearing a cup. It hurt but I figured that discomfort was just part of the package.

I opened the door after school and there it was, spread out in the living room floor, a brand new pony sized leather saddle.  I was confused. Where did it come from? Who did it belong to? My brother explained that it must be for me and my pony. I was dumbfounded.  It shined like a new penny and filled the room with the smell of fresh leather.

I didn’t have expensive clothes so while I was in junior high I wore wrangler jeans and common shirts and sweatshirts.  They were fine. They didn’t have holes and they kept me covered and warm. I didn’t think much about it. I just chose from the clean things in my closet and tried to look as neat as I could.  

One fall Saturday my mother came in from buying groceries.  I helped her unload the car. While she was putting the groceries away I was plundering the bags, looking for a Payday candy bar.  I found a bag with a white Alabama Crimson Tide sweatshirt in it. I lost track of the candy bar as I pulled it out and realized it was my size.  Later that year I wore that shirt to school. I wore it when I played football in the field with the neighbors kids. I stained it with grass and blood.  She scrubbed the stains out of it and delivered it to my closet for me to wear again with pride, over and over until it had holes worn through. I was rich in that shirt.

Recently while I was fishing with my nephew I stumbled over the center seat in my boat, the one next to the driver.  It kicked up on it’s hinge and I proceeded to step on the back of it and break it loose from the boat and split the seat from the back.  Somehow I managed all that and still landed on my feet. We agreed that there shouldn’t be a seat in that location since he had tripped on it twice already.  He explained to me his plans for building a carpet covered lid to put in place of the damaged seat.

Later the next week he called.  He met me and gave me the lid. It looked like a factory job.  I thanked him and told him that he shouldn’t have and I never expected him to fix something that I had broken.  He told me that he liked doing things for people when they didn’t expect it.

So here I am rehashing my good fortune.  These are just a few examples of times when my friends and family have surprised me in a positive way.  There are a hundred more examples that I could list but I know I’d eventually bore you silly. I may write the rest when no one is watching, when I’m feeling poor, sad and imagining that I’m alone, when I catch myself thinking that no one cares, when I forget how rich I truly am.

© 2018 busterlee

Author's Note

Say whatever you think.

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Well busterlee, this one feels like the bones of a story. Each vignette is beautifully rendered.

Posted 2 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


2 Years Ago

Thanks Shannon. Interesting thought.

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Added on July 8, 2018
Last Updated on July 8, 2018
Tags: memories, gifts, love, friends, family




I like to write. I don't know if my writing is worth reading but that doesn't seem to matter much. I think that I need to write and I know that I enjoy it. I believe that 90 percent of what we do i.. more..