Does the thought really count?

My friend MCF asks
some interesting questions
of his readers.
I don’t usually respond, but I enjoy reading what others have to say. This
week, however, one of his questions summoned a memory.
He asks:

What’s the absolute worst last-minute gift you’ve ever given someone, and
how do you feel about it today?

One Christmas during the days when my Happy Wife and I had not recognized
any feelings for each other beyond friendship, I struggled to find an appropriate
gift. I wanted to give her something both meaningful and practical. I finally
decided on a
small flashlight
that would easily fit into a purse or glove compartment
and keep her safe should she ever find herself stranded in the dark. It really
did seem like a good idea. I can’t imagine what went through her mind when
she removed its wrapping paper. I can tell you what went through my mind, though:
"Stupidstupidstupidstupidstupid!!!" I made a pathetic attempt to explain why
I thought it would be a good gift. I failed to convince even myself. I’ve given
her lots of amazing gifts, but none is as memorable to me as that stupid flashlight.

I’m glad I had that experience for two reasons. One, since she smiled and
thanked me, I knew she loved me and never doubted my affection for her even
in my disgraceful ineptitude. Two, it keeps me humble and makes me try harder
to come up with really good gifts.

Another of MCF’s questions that sparked a memory was this:

List as many prepositions as you’d like.

I’m reminded of the mythical grammatical injunction against ending sentences
with a preposition and a sentence I once read that ended with five consecutive
prepositions. It seems that a mother offered to read a story to her sick little
son, and he declined. The mother put the book away, and he said, "Mommy, what
did you put that book that I didn’t want to be read to out of up for?"

4 thoughts on “Does the thought really count?

  1. Maglites are crazy nice. My Aunt and Uncle got me one for Christmas one time when I was in college, a solid blue number. They’re small, bright, and heavy, way better than larger cheap-o plastic numbers I’ve seen around in between beside to.

  2. It’s not a myth, it’s a freaking LAW! You SHAN’T end a sentence with a preposition, no matter what cute sick little boys have to say about it!

  3. I always tell our children (so it goes for hubby and me, too), respond to the gift as you would respond to a hug from the person giving it. Assume it’s their best, and are loving you in the giving. You get excited not over the thing itself, but the act that it was given to you. That way, you can truly smile and say thank you, you love it, because you care for that person, and the fact that they thought of you. Even if it’s socks and underwear from your greatgrandmother, and you’re 10, and it’s Cmas morning, and you hate getting socks and underwear as a gift!

  4. What is wrong with a maglite? I’d have loved to have received one of those from a guy friend when I was a single gal. As it is I carry a small headlamp with me at nearly all times (there’s nothing better for examining the inside of one’s engine when it’s dark out and there’s no one else available to hold a flashlight).