Wood Working: Grandma Wood never had my gift wrapping woesThis story should have been in before the Christmas rush, but I was pretty rushed myself.
By: Dave Wood, columnist, River Falls Journal
This story should have been in before the Christmas rush, but I was pretty rushed myself.
Beautiful Wife wanted snowshoes for Christmas. Have you any idea of how embarrassing it is for a 74-year-old with a broken leg, two titanium knees and a new hip to hobble into Gander Mountain in Woodbury, Minn., and ask a sinewy looking clerk to show him what he has in the way of snowshoes?
Well, that’s pretty much how it went for me last month when I tried to catch up on Christmas shopping.
Now that Beautiful Wife’s already received them, I can tell you folks what I bought her. I had to be especially careful this year because she was very disappointed in her November Christmas gift.
We happened to be at Winterthur Gardens in Pennsylvania and when she went to the john, I sneaked out and bought her four packages of seeds.
Not good enough.
Well good enough because she loves to garden, but the whole gesture seemed sort of, well, spontaneous, as if I had never planned to go 1,500 miles to buy her $2 worth of flower seeds.
So this Christmas I hobbled all over the place trying to make up for my rude and totally unconscionable misdeed. Here’s what I bought her:
Some furry boots to wear around the house to save on natural gas.
A pair of furry pullover pants to wear in our drafty library when she watches a 1940s black-and-white movie starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn about which she has no interest.
A Brita water canister with filters to assuage the guilt she always feels when she buys a 24-pack of mineral water.
Four throw-away hand warmers on sale at Walgreen’s.
An e-z herb garden kit to grow her own herbs now that she’s retired and getting into the kitchen scene. (I’ll bet it doesn’t work.)
A beautiful pair of Tubbs snowshoes from Gander Mountain and a pair of very warm gloves to go along. These items were expensive and, I must confess, I will be very happy if global warming actually arrives and she never has the opportunity to use them.
Those little gifts were easy enough to buy, but have you ever tried to wrap two aluminum snowshoes? Or a pair of furry pants? Or a bulky pair of furry knee-length boots?
There’s only one generic item easy to wrap. That’s a book. When I worked as a book reviewer with thousands of tomes to choose from, I had a ball sending books to friends and relatives.
It takes a piece of wrapping paper about 24 by 18, scotch tape, a cute inscription and one of those stick-on ribbons and you’re home free.
But a pair of snow shoes?
The only person I know who could have done a job on them or any of the other presents I gave Beautiful Wife would be my grandmother, Martha Wood.
Grandma and Grandpa were very poor, having lost everything in the Great Depression. But they lived in the big house on Scranton Street near the country club and Grandma kept up appearances.
The presents she gave us were either very practical or nearly worthless. One year she gave me, age 10, a bedspread.
But when she gave a cheap-o, like True Western Romance magazine for Grandpa, she always wrapped it beautifully. Her technique was painstaking, but incredibly inexpensive.
You could always tell Grandma’s presents under the tree. They were always wrapped in white tissue paper with gold cord thread.
And how did you know it was for you and who it was from?
Grandma had a letter-hoard of golden-glued alphabets. She painstakingly picked out the letters and glued them to the tissue paper: TO DAVID — FROM GRANDMA AND GRANDPA WOOD.
Pretty classy, compared to the way I wrapped Ruthie’s snowshoes last month.
Dave would like to hear from you. Phone him at 426-5446.