The Norman Transcript


February 8, 2013

The lingering gifts



“It’s an armadillo skull,” he says with a shrug.

“Do I need a tetanus shot? Will I die from the bite?”


“Are you telling me that besides digging holes in my flower garden and aggravating the dog, they can return from the dead and chomp on my toes?”


A man of few words.

On a more human plane, some gifts are only appreciated when we give them away (also known as re-gifting) or when we hide them and hope they are forgotten.

Christmas is the most opportune time for such gifts to rear their inevitable heads. Aside from the ubiquitous fruit cake, which has long ago fossilized as it passed from hand to hand and no one dares to open the package, there are the “gag” gifts. The recipient is supposed to open the package and burst out laughing, sometimes.

Hubby is a kind person by nature and in the murky past my sister put that kindness to the test. No matter what he received, Hubby always managed to look delighted and thanked the giver.

She found a purple tie which was a cross between dark lilac and good-God-it’s-an-Easter egg-in-the-shape-of-a-tie. The evil sibling wrapped it up and gave it to Hubby for Christmas, expecting a shocked reaction or exclamation.

Hubby open the box, held up the tie for everyone to see. “Oh! Thank you very much.”

Eventually, the tie became the pass around gift. No one knew who would be blessed with it, but everyone laughed, secretly rejoicing that they did not get it. This painful practice continued until my father received the tie. He opened it, put on his most disapproving professorial face and swiftly buried it in his pile of gifts.

The purple tie never saw the light of day again, which is a good thing because somewhere along the way my sister also found an incredibly large cup size purple bra to match the tie.

Elizabeth is a freelance writer and author. Check out her novel “The Dionysus Connection” on Amazon or ask your bookstore to order it for you. Visit her website

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