Trick gift

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
A gift gone wrong.

Submitted: December 12, 2013

A A A | A A A

Submitted: December 12, 2013

A A A

A A A


Graduation day 2013: the biggest day of my life thus far. I awake in the predawn hour to the sound of scurrying at the foot of my bed. OK, so maybe it was 10 a.m. I open one eye half expecting a wild badger, or maybe a feral cat, but instead find my parents grinning down at me. In my mother’s hands was a package best described as garish. She prides herself on being able to make every gift extra special by using “creative wrapping techniques.”  She thrust the box in my direction, both parental units expectantly staring me down. I open my other eye and accept the package.  I struggle to extricate the gift from its colorful wrap. O…k….yeah….a shoebox. This was probably not my last trick gift. They have a history of placing gifts in inappropriate boxes.  As a child, socks and underwear were typically wrapped in board game boxes.  Video games would arrive inside a Baby Gap box swathed in a sweater. I was pretty sure this was not a pair of shoes, until I opened the box.  Inside was a pair of shoes, sandals to be exact. Curious graduation gift. I would expect this from my great grandma. She is ninety and sometimes gives wacky gifts. I like to pretend she has a crazy sense of humor.  For my 18th birthday she gave me a lovely wallet, a lovely lavender wallet.  Pretty sure it was a lady gift.  I use it in my underwear drawer to keep things smelling manly.  Leather is a manly odor, even when it comes in a purple package.  So I lay there staring at the shoes in a shoebox. “There’s more.  Look under the shoes honey,” coaxed my mother. I lift the sandals out to find an airline ticket. To Paris. France.  Yeah every guy I know dreams of the day he gets to go to Paris.

Fast forward several weeks. I land in Paris, graduation sandals on my feet, parents by my side. I was going to backpack across Europe with my parents, and as an added bonus Grandma and Grandpa came along.  I will admit that my Grandparents are pretty hip.  So hip in fact that they sported the exact same sandals I had on my feet. Un-frickin-believable. 

I must rewind for a moment to give a little background on the making of this epic vacation. If you haven’t already picked up on it, my Mom can be a bit neurotic.  There, I said it. I finally got that little skeleton out of the closet. So, she set out making index cards. Index cards, those delightful little 3-by-5 pieces of cardstock that are typically reserved for flashcards or even an occasional recipe. Each day was mapped out. Each attraction, every hotel and restaurant organized on color coded cardstock.  Key phrases in three languages were to be memorized prior to our departure .Yeah, we were in test prep mode (for vacation) don’t forget your flashcards. Let’s get back to the fun already in progress…

Day Seventeen: We arrive in Rome.  My Father hails two cabs as my mother fetches her all important index cards. “ Magnifico” she finds them.  She pulls me aside and asks if I mind riding with my grandparents.  My grandmother has decided to stay in a quaint B&B, while our family has opted for a large hotel nearby. “Meet you at Burger King,” my Mother hollers as she slides into the cab, 3x5 in her hand. In this moment, that makes me chuckle.  I lobbied for a particular hotel instead of a certain B&B due of its close proximity to American fast food.  My parents disappear into a blur of traffic. The cabby turns and looks at us expectantly.  We don’t have any index cards. “It’s by a fountain,” my grandmother says, thinking she is being helpful.We buzz off into the congested streets of Rome, no clue as to where we are going.  Around every corner is a fountain.  We pass yet another fountain, Giancarlo looks back almost pleadingly, Grandma’s hand firmly clenched in his. Yeah, we were pretty tight. I have read that experiencing a traumatic life event with strangers creates a strong connection with your fellow victim. We were going to be Facebook friends for sure.  

After what feels like an eternity, but in actuality is in the neighborhood of 48 minutes, Grandpa blurts out, “Wasn’t it near some famous pizza place?”  Grandma’s face instantly scrunches up as though she has recently consumed some expired sushi. “No! No! No! Pizza place. This is no time to be hungry.” My stomach rumbles, I’m pretty sure a meal is in the distant future.  A moment later it clicks. “Piazza Navona,” screams Grandma, surprising everyone including herself. Giancarlo changes direction and moments later we pull over. The look on his face says it all. We all hug, happy we made it. We drop the luggage and set off to find “the Burger King.”  Only problem is, there are numerous Burger Kings. Turns out Italians also enjoy a little flame broiled goodness.  Let’s round down and call it an hour later we finally arrive at the Burger King.

“Buongiorno!” my parents call out. “Who’s ready to see Rome?”  We all know it’s more a statement than a question.  The tre amici all smile knowingly.  “We got this,” Grandpa declares prying the tour guide materials out of my mother’s hands. “Let’s take a right up here,” I suggest. “Yeah, there’s a beautiful fountain I’d love to show you,” Grandma adds giving us a wink.

I brought those sandals with me to college. Every time I catch a glimpse of them sitting in the bottom of my closet it makes me smile. There are so many more tales to tell. I wish I had more time. I guess I’ll just have to save the rest for therapy.

 
 
 

 

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