Friday, December 27, 2013

Unexpected Gifts






  Ahhhh... Christmas. It's come and gone for this year. I hope yours was a delight, as mine was. It was fairly quiet this year. All of my children are grown up and gone. I'm left with the memories of Christmas's past when they were all growing up. Prior to moving to Hoonah the kids had never really experienced Christmas with a tree and the presents and a special dinner. The holiday wasn't celebrated at the time on the farm, so for ten years they had little idea that it was any different than any other day. Once we moved to town though, Christmas was celebrated in the Botts home with the tree, the dinner, the gifts and lots of love and laughter and noise. It was a lot of fun, and still is, just on a smaller scale. We had our annual Shoe Box Dinner at my daughter, Jennifer's house. She takes shoe boxes and decorates them with gift wrap and puts in a drink, some fruit, candy, chips and a small gift and then we enjoy a tuna melt sandwich. For me she put in a package of Chumbug hoochies and a generous gift card to I tunes. What fun! I'm anxious to try out these new Chumbugs. Dog, or chum salmon, are primarily plankton eaters, so we use a smaller hoochie than what would normally be used for other salmon. One other tradition that has been in effect for a number of years is the adult Christmas party at the church. There is always a nice dinner with prime rib, baked potatoes,salad and a dessert. Afterwards the tables are put away and chairs are set in a circle and everyone draws a number. The number is to determine the order of who will draw a gift from under the tree. We all bring a wrapped gift when we arrive. This year there were around 42 folks who participated, so there were a lot of gifts to choose from. The way it works, the person who draws number one is of course the first to choose. After everyone else has chosen a gift, the first person can choose a gift belonging to someone else if they don't like what they got. With each new person who draws, they have a choice to choose a gift from under the tree or they can choose something that a previous person has chosen. Some gifts are more coveted than others. Because it's random, you never know what you're getting if you choose one of the presents from under the tree, so for instance one fellow ended up with a make up bag.At seventy five, I don't think he's all that interested in how he looks, but I could be wrong. Perhaps he's applying some foundation or lipstick as I write this, who knows? There were a handful of gifts that sparked a good deal of interest. An LED flashlight passed hands a number of times, as well as a beautiful wine kit and bottle of wine and a blanket throw. One gift came from under the tree looking for all the world like a giant dog bone, like something you might give to a Great Dane. We all watched in anticipation as it was unwrapped and I for one was delighted to see a yellow cedar gaff hook made by one of the local fellows here. They are the best gaff hooks I've ever owned. I have one on the boat that I used all last year and I love it. Because I was like number 37, I had a chance to see what other people had chosen. There were some good gifts, but my eyes were on that gaff hook, so when my turn came, I went straight to it and in a most un-Christian way, took it from the owner. I really wanted to leave right then before anyone else could take it from me, but it doesn't work that way. It didn't take long before someone came and got it. It changed hands between the original recipient, a charter boat owner, a sport fisherman, and my friend Bob Pinard and one or two others. After much trading back and forth and making agreements with other players, I finally had possession of that fine gaff hook again. However, the gal who drew first still had a chance to take a gift. She looked at the wine, the flashlight, the makeup bag and a few other great gifts and then settled in front of me and apologized and made off with MY gaff hook! I couldn't believe it. What in heavens name did she want with that? Was she going to give it to her husband? I didn't think he even fished, and I was certain they didn't own a boat. They have a little four or five year old son, but surely they wouldn't let him have it. I was both hurt and a little angry. Why, out of all the more appropriate gifts to take,did she grab the gaff hook? I thought about it all the rest of the night and even the next day. I'm not sure, but I made have had nightmares of losing my gaff. Anyway, the night after the party I was sitting in the living room watching TV when we heard a noise on the front porch. Jan opened the door thinking it was a dog on the porch and there, hanging on the door was the gaff hook! It had been decorated to look like a candy cane by Edna and Keith Skafelstad who had apparently collaborated with Tina Fuller, the gal who took it from me. To say I was pleased and excited would be an understatement. Christmas suddenly got better.My only problem now is that it looks so nice I almost hate to use it. I'm sure I'll get over it though. One last thing I wanted to mention. The top picture is of a quilt that my daughter Jen made for one of the local men,  Walter Lindoff, or Wanzai as he's more commonly known. She has developed a friendship with him over the years and he's often blessed her with a fresh salmon during the season. His life has been incredibly interesting, and though I don't feel free to share too much of the little I know about him at this time, I can mention that back in September he was attacked by a sow bear at the top of Hill Street as he was walking down the hill. It's just one more thing in a most unusual life. Jen used her position as an elementary teacher to have her students make get well cards for him as he was recovering and it was a real blessing. She felt like she wanted to do something for him this Christmas so with the help from one of the local seamstresses, she made the quilt. Like most unexpected gifts, it was greatly appreciated. The one exception would be the unexpected gifts I get on my lawn from the neighborhood dogs. Frankly, even if they were wrapped in sparkly paper and tied with a bow, I'm afraid I would be hard pressed to be happy to receive them. So dogs around my neighborhood, thanks for thinking of me, but keep your gifts to yourselves. Better yet, leave them on your master's beds. See how well that goes over.

8 comments:

  1. I really like that picture of the deer blanket. Hope you and mom had a great Christmas dad.. take care... Miss you both. brian

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    1. Hi Brian- I really like that quilt she made. I think it really says a lot about Jen. Her and Wanzai have a good friendship. It took a good bit of time so it was a labor of love. I wish you could have been here for the holidays, but we're separated by about as many miles as we could possibly be. However, you're always on our minds and in our prayers. Take care.

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  2. Mom told me about the gaff hook experience, had me laughing! That was really neat of them to do that for you, I think it makes you realize how much you've touched those around you, even if you don't realize it. Wish I could have been he for Christmas, but I'll see you guys on New Years!

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    1. Hi Autumn- yeah, it was quite the surprise. It was very kind of everyone involved to do that. It took a sacrifice on everyone's part that was greatly appreciated. We'll see you soon. Don't plan on bringing any baking stuff with you. We've both been told by our doctors that we need to lose weight and when all the fattening stuff shows up it's not fair to us to have it around. It becomes that much harder to get rid of the extra weight that accumulates. If you want to bring something, bring hard boiled eggs and nuts!

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  3. that was great dad...missed bein home with yall..love to all get home together again some year..love n miss you all

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    1. Hi Amber- boy that would be quite the reunion wouldn't it? It may have to wait until we're down south some year. Maybe at a more middle ground so everyone doesn't have to travel so far. I can't imagine having nine adults in the same house. When you guys were all little there was room for everyone- barely. Now there would be bodies hanging all over the place. I think we'd have to rent a hotel or something. Miss you too gal. Take care of those kids and hi to David.

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  4. hello. thats pretty cool they painted that gaff hook up. looks good too.

    we are doing a similar gift exchange at my guard unit when i have my next drill. they call it a white elephant exchange.

    the blog looks good.

    david r.

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  5. Too funny! Jen told me you were a bit upset about the gaf hook, I guess you should be ashamed of yourself:):) Just a years notice, we plan on being there for Christmas next year. Kids will be one year older and it might be doable, mom said it was too quiet this year.
    Liz

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