I don’t remember all the details. I was young. What I do remember is the little American flag and the intense desire to make my father happy. Allow me to fill in the blanks with my best guesses.
I had gone with the neighbors to a flea market or something similar. I searched up and down the isles for that perfect something. Not something for myself. I wanted to buy a gift for my father. I didn’t have much money, I’m not sure if I had any. Maybe the neighbor bought my gift for me? No matter, it wasn’t the money that counted.
I finally found something that I was certain my dad would love. Looking back I feel a bit silly. I waited with anticipation as the item was paid for and wrapped in a brown paper bag. I held it with care, making certain it wouldn’t be damaged or misplaced before we got home.
When we finally arrived back at our home on Raintree Road, I proudly carried my gift inside and presented it to my father. I don’t remember his reaction as he pulled that “Made in China” hand-held American flag out of the bag but it must have been a positive one because I distinctly remember the satisfaction of feeling like I had made his day. It must have impacted me deeply because after all these years, I can’t forget that little flag or the joy of giving a real gift of love. And looking back, I realize that the value of the gift had nothing do with what I gave, but rather with my desire and motive to give it. It was the gift of a child’s love for his father.
This is the kind of gift that I long to give to my family and friends this year for Christmas; to my dad and my mom, to Jeff and Aaron (my brothers) and to my closest friends: Phil, Mitch, and Jon. There is no way that I could wrap up the love and appreciation that I have for them.
They are my gifts everyday.
Give real gifts.