Posted 11-30-2003 at 15:45:24
[Reply] [No Email]
It was a common practice when we were kids to shake and rattle every box under the Christmas tree that had our name on it, to see if we could figure out what was inside. Some of them were easy. A lightweight box with a lightweight rattle was usually a jigsaw puzzle. A medium weight box with assorted different sounding rattles,was a board game. A hard, heavy one, with no rattle, was generally a book.
There was one package under the tree one year, that I wasn’t sure about. I was probably nine years old when this particular package defied any and all rattling and shaking attempts, and would not divulge a clue to what was inside. Drat. It was soft, but when squished, seemed to have a hard spot in the middle, which eliminated slippers or a robe or anything of that caliber.
That year, on the top of my list, was a radio. I wanted a radio worse than anything in the world. Not just any radio, but one I could carry around with me everywhere I went. I’ll admit it, Donny Osmond was the center of my universe. Every single square inch of my bedroom walls were devoted to Donny, and I had every record he’d ever made. When he sang ‘Hey There Lonely Girl’ or ‘Unchained Melody’, he was talking to me, thank you very much, and I had nothing but pity for any other girl who was under the sad impression that he was talking to her. Sorry
‘bout your luck.
Like any other devoted, love struck fan, I wanted to be able to take Donny with me everywhere I went, and back then, you couldn’t buy a radio for practically nothing like you can now. Boom boxes and walkman’s were non-existant. Music came from radios or records, and for those of you who have no idea, a record was a flat, black, plastic disk that went on a turn table and when a phonograph needle was applied to it, music came out of it. Think of it as a CD, only a lot bigger.
Anyway, after the standard shake, rattle, and rummage procedure, I didn’t find anything that could possibly be a transistor radio, and I was all set to be disappointed. I had given up on the mystery box. One thing was for sure, it was too big and too soft to be a radio. I set about forcing myself to put my poker face on, so that Christmas morning no one would be able to tell how devastated I was that, despite several very not too subtle hints, it looked like I was not going to get my radio, and I went to bed Christmas Eve, listening to my Donny records, resigned to the fact that he was going to be stuck in my bedroom for an undetermined period of time. Oh well, there was always my birthday.
Christmas morning we were up before the chickens, tiptoeing around the house, trying to be sensible and considerate while Mom and Dad imbibed in enough caffeine to cope with the upcoming ordeal. Finally Daddy gave us the official nod, and the paper started to fly. Gifts were sorted and stacked and thank you’s and hugs were bestowed. Once us kids had opened all our gifts, we watched Mom and Dad open their gifts from each other, which was, despite all the excitement, one of my favorite parts of Christmas morning, because they always got each other the nicest things, and they both almost always ended up misty eyed at the other’s thoughtfulness.
Things had settled down, and I was eyeing the plate of Christmas fudge on the coffee table, prepared to find my solace in chocolate and drown my sorrows in as much sugar as I could stomach, when my Mother fixed me with a perplexed expression.
She always called me that when I did something either bad or surprising, and I was wondering how the heck she’d read my mind that fast and figured out I was considering fudge for breakfast, when she cocked her head to the side and grinned at me.
“Aren’t you going to open that one?” She pointed.
I looked down, and there was the mystery package sitting practically in my lap, still wrapped. I don’t know how I missed it. It was among one of the larger packages, but somehow it had escaped my greedy fingers. I glanced around at the rest of the family. The pressure was on now that the fervor had died down. I was going to be watched by four curious faces while I opened this last gift, and I had better be prepared to appear happy and excited, despite my disappointment.
I slowly began to tear the paper off. The first thing I saw was a black button eye peeking out at me. More paper peeling revealed soft black fur and as more wrapping was removed, I made out the shape of a black stuffed toy poodle. He was resting on his belly, his back legs tucked under him and his front paws stretched before him.
“Oh it’s so cuuuuute!” I exclaimed, and I meant it. I knew just the place for him. Right in the middle of my bed. The only thing I loved more than music was animals, even stuffed ones. I hugged the poodle and smiled at my mother.
There was a long silence and then my father grinned and said...
“Turn it over, honey. Yeah.Like that,just...just flip it right on over.”
I did as instructed and there on the belly of this lovely, soft, stuffed poodle, were two small black knobs. My mother, not being able to stand the suspense anymore, leaned over and turned one of the knobs, and suddenly the living room was filled with Christmas music.
My bottom lip started wobbling around all by itself, and I knew I was fixin' to embarrass myself but I was powerless to prevent it. All the suspense and anticipation and previous disappointment came welling up inside me and burst forth as sobs. My mother and father started laughing and my brother, ever the tender hearted soul, said...
“I ....I didn’t think....I mean....” I couldn’t even make sense.
“That’s what you get for thinking.” My father said, with his usual straight forward gruffness.
I got my radio, and even better than that, it was unique and I could never in a million years have guessed that such a thing ever even existed.
Every now and then a gift like that comes along, you know what I’m talking about, that special something that for awhile just makes getting out of bed every day worth the effort. For some this gift may have come in the form of a car, or a computer, or the long sought after pony. For me, it was silly little black stuffed toy poodle that liberated Donny Osmond from the confines of my bedroom.