ERROL CASTENS: Christmas gifts and codgertations

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

Facebook friend David Cook lamented the other day about his wife’s behavior just after waking. She came to the kitchen expecting to see him brewing some coffee. When he pointed to the cup he’d already poured for her, she said, “This coffee is old.” He replied, “So are you.” Turns out he was even better at brewing trouble than java.
The bedrock principle here is, anything that happens before a wife has her first cup of coffee is the husband’s fault.
My wife has NEVER drunk a cup of coffee, so imagine the full-time eggshell path I tread.

•••

On the subject of my wife, when Sue started using reading glasses sometime back, she sometimes committed the unintended but ubiquitous funny of asking for help to find her glasses and then being miffed with me for finding them on top of her head.
This week she approached me with the same problem and got the same response on my part – except this time there were TWO pairs of specs already up there.

•••

If you left the house this morning to make a Black Friday foray before your Daily Journal got there, you’re on the “bless your heart” prayer list of the rest of us. Finish the paper and take a nap.

•••

One of the challenges I find in gift-giving is the pleasure in so many choices is all too temporary. Here are some ideas that might be valued for years or even generations:
A Greg Harkins rocking chair. (To make it even more special, have it made of lumber from a tree or building that has sentimental value to the giftee.)
A drawerful of Aunt Gladys’ Kodachrome snapshots or 8-millimeter films turned into DVDs for everybody in the family.
Well-seasoned cast iron cookware.
A wind-up, tick-tocking clock (Personal theory: Every house needs at least one).
Sleigh bells.
Genealogy charts.
A book of a parent’s or grandparent’s childhood memories. (Fill-in-the-blank versions are available at stationery stores or online.)
Cuttings for the whole family from Grandma’s favorite rosebush.
A trip to “old stomping grounds,” whether across the ocean, a state away or just the next county over.
A goat. (We’re not talking a caprine to munch Uncle Harlon’s yard: This is a milk goat given through Samaritan’s Purse, Heifer Project or such charity in honor of Uncle Harlon. The same organizations provide chickens, ducks, pigs, cows and other livestock that provide food, fertilizer and income to change a third-world family’s fortunes for the long term.)

•••

Here’s a calming quote reminding us of both seasonal joys and heartaches as we begin this artificially frantic season: “Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance – a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.” (Augusta Rundel)
Contact Daily Journal Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens at errol.castens@journalinc.com.