Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Gift

The Gift
By Allison Adams 06-09-12 / Submitted to The Greeneville Sun on 06-10-12

The anticipation nearly had killed us, but finally the day came when our baby bird, Nate, returned to the nest after a long school year away from home. 

He wheeled his overloaded car into the driveway and honked the horn.  

Out he hopped with a face full of scruffy whiskers and dressed like he’d selected his clothes from the lost and found box.

He leaned over into the grass and spit out a wad of sunflower seed hulls before he turned to greet his daddy and me with open arms.

We fell into a big, fat, group hug, and stood like that for a couple of moments, cherishing the embrace.

Then we began unloading his essentials. 

First came the bicycle, which had been strapped to the back end of the car. 

“Be careful when you open the doors,” warned my son.  “I’ve got everything packed in there pretty tightly.”


Out came two heavy trunks, a few, full, Rubbermaid bins, a flat-screen TV wrapped in a beach towel, a folding chair, a trash can containing “important papers”, a duffle bag bursting at the seams, a mini microwave, boxes of books, more garbage bags filled with dirty clothes than I care to mention, and finally … a mounted deer head with an impressive rack.

I am not making this up.

“I didn’t know you were bringing home a friend or I would have set another place at the table.” I said.

“Isn’t he awesome?”

“Did you take a class in taxidermy this semester?” I asked.  “Why can’t you just take art like a normal kid, and bring home a misshapen clay bowl for me to put on the top shelf of my closet?”

“That’s Ted Danson,” said my son.

“The actor?” I asked.

“No.  The deer head.”

“Hello, Ted.” I said.

“Ted was a gift from my fraternity brother.  Don’t get too attached, mom.  He’s going back to school with me in the fall.”

“I’ll try to restrain myself,” I said. 

With that I retired to the laundry room to begin my ascent of Mt. Dirty Clothes.

I was on laundry load number eight or nine when I noticed something odd. 

“I haven’t washed any socks.  Where are all of your socks?” I asked.

“They’re inside my mini microwave.”

“Ah. Now I understand why your neckties were stuffed into your car’s cup holder.”

“I wanted to put them someplace they wouldn’t get ruined,” he explained.

“Of course.”  I said.  “One more thing – to whom do these clothes belong?”

“Is that a trick question?” he asked.

“These shorts.  These t-shirts.  Whose are they?” I pressed.

“I’m gonna go out on a limb here, and say - me.”

“I know your clothes, and some of these items are not yours.”

“I think you’re just a little miffed that I said you can’t keep Ted Danson.”

“I will assume these shorts belong to your roommate – along with this pair, and this t-shirt, and...”

“Those must have ended up on my side of the floor.  I have to admit that things got a little crazy toward the end of the semester, mom.  Which reminds me – if we get a bill from school for replacement ceiling tiles in our dorm – it wasn’t my fault.”

“I’ve yet to come across the t-shirts that you bought at the thrift store two years ago.” I said.

“The ones I had to buy back after you ‘accidentally’ donated them?” he asked.

“Yes, those.”

“I was traumatized by that whole incident.”

“It was an honest mistake.” I said. “Lets talk about this stack of t-shirts here. They are unfamiliar to me.  How did you come to own these?”

“You get a lot of t-shirts in college.”


“Take that yellow one,” he said,  “we got that one to wear to advertise the school event.  Then we got the blue one to wear on the day of the school event.  Then we got the white one to wear to celebrate the success of the school event.

“Good grief.” 

“Mom - how come you can’t remember things, like – my name – but you have every item of my wardrobe memorized?” he asked.

“It’s a gift, Ted.” I replied.

“No. It’s a curse.”

I stand corrected.

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