KEVIN TATE: When the occasional gifting gets tough, the tough get gifting

By Kevin Tate/Outdoors Writer

The late, great, Lewis Grizzard, one of my writing idols and a great American, may have offered the most accurate description of how he, I and most guys I know look at purchasing things when he said, “Women shop, men buy.”
It’s not that I mind spending money, I just have no patience for endless comparisons, or really comparisons of any kind at all. Before I was married, I would go about a typical clothing purchase this way: If I had determined it was time to buy more shirts, for example, I’d go to the shirt store, tell the first person to assist me what size I wore, and determine the price of what was offered. Dividing that price into the amount I intended to spend would yield the number of shirts I would be purchasing. Those shirts would be worn until the last possible thread was holding together the last possible shirt, at which time the process would be repeated. Thankfully I now have help in that arena so that, at the very least, I’m left to find more creative ways to embarrass them.
I learned my shopping prowess from my Dad, who avoided such encounters like the plague. When hemmed into a buying corner by such a force as, say, the necessity to purchase Christmas presents, his philosophy called for waiting until the very last possible minute to commence.
I recall one year when I was maybe 9 or 10. A rare, heavy snowfall was pending on Christmas Eve. As the day progressed into late afternoon and then night, every television program on all three channels we could receive via antenna was in a constant state of interruption due to bulletins about the impending snow storm, then ice storm, then snow and ice storm that was looming ever closer. We availed ourselves of the milk and bread supplies to be found at the commmunity’s small grocery store and prepared to batten down the hatches.
Around eight o’clock, as the ground beneath the occasional stars began to glow with the steadily-accumulating White Death, I walked through the kitchen and, out the window, saw the tail lights of my Dad’s 1974 Ford pickup heading out of the driveway, on his way to buy every present he intended to buy.
By waiting until the last possible minute, he said, the job was simplified by the fact there was much less stuff on the shelves to sort through. Wisdom for the ages if I ever heard any, and a mantra I’ve tried to follow ever since.

Kevin Tate is V.P. of Media Productions for Mossy Oak in West Point.

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