Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Memories: An Unfamiliar Ring

 

Memories are mysterious things. I wasn’t blessed with good recall, and the march of time has made that fact more noticeable. But others seem to have vivid memories of their past, particularly childhood.

For me, it’s mostly fog and fuzzy forms. But it’s December. The lead-up to Christmas. A time that’s all about memories. At least, that’s what Hallmark tells me. Surely there are memories to be mined from the most wonderful time of the year.

I can remember, vaguely, the feeling of excitement and anticipation. The glory of gifts, brightly wrapped and enticing, spreading out from under the tree, across the living room floor. The fun of my mother’s favorite seasonal activity—shaking those pretty packages to guess—never aloud!—what they might contain.

That bit gives me my clearest recollection of a childhood Christmas. Each year my sister and I received gifts from an uncle and aunt whose choice of present was wildly unpredictable. I think I was in third grade when we received bottles of Chanel No. 5 from them.

But one year, the package was especially intriguing. It was about eight inches long and five inches deep. The shape gave little away as to its contents.

But the really baffling thing was the sound it made. When I, following family tradition, shook it, there was a faint, but distinct ring. Not bell-like, but a muffled thrinnngg.

And that gift got a lot of shaking, as I was wrapped in wonder at what could make that sound. Naturally, on Christmas morning, I dove for that gift right away.

Inside, was a smiling, twinkly-eyed plaster football player. Uncle Ralph and Aunt Caroline were bigwigs at Auburn University (War Eagle, y’all!), and we were rabid fans in our little family. The sound he had made while muffled in cardboard and Christmas paper was from the spring in his jiggling bobblehead.

That 1960s icon is still with me, holding a place of honor on a bookshelf, still wobbling its head with a mischievous grin. The most mysterious of Christmas gifts, he silently reminds me, through the fog, of a wondrous and wonderful time.

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There are 11 comments.

  1. Mark Camp Member

    Thx for this. You use poetry nicely in your prose, and show your guests much respect by cleaning and polishing the service so carefully before having us in.

    • #1
    • December 2, 2019, at 6:59 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  2. Kevin Schulte Member

    Thank you for your precious memory of Christmas past. How wonderful the gift is still giving. 

    • #2
    • December 2, 2019, at 7:13 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  3. Suspira Member
    Suspira Post author

    I’ve just edited this. Apparently that which I was trying to put in italics was deleted altogether. Sorry about that.

    • #3
    • December 2, 2019, at 7:57 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  4. Arahant Member

    War Eagle!

    • #4
    • December 2, 2019, at 8:26 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  5. Arahant Member

    My elder brother was a present peeker. He had to know and would go to extraordinary lengths to find out what he was getting for Christmas. But he was also a firm believer that everyone else should know, too, even if it spoiled Christmas for his younger brother. One year, he took me back into the utility room and pulled aside a pool liner to reveal the box of one of my gifts. Or he would lead me into our parents’ room and open the closet to reveal things. I also remember that there would be wrapped gifts under the tree, and he would slowly and carefully undo the tape from an end of the paper to reveal the end of the box beneath.

    He later became a policeman and had quite a few years as a detective. Hmmmn.

    • #5
    • December 2, 2019, at 8:32 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  6. WillowSpring Member

    My older brother and I had an uncle that always sent us interesting, sometimes scientific, things. In face, one year he sent us a subscription to “Things of Science”. Every month, we would get a small brown cardboard box in the mail. It was meant to be kept and had tabs which would hold the lid on when bent.

    Inside would be a lesson in something like optics and also what ever it took to do experiments to follow the lesson. There were telescopes, pin-hole cameras, fossils and so on. The insecticide month was pretty disastrous for any bugs we found.

    I would love to be that sort of uncle to my nephew and nieces, but so many new things rely less on the kid’s imagination and are more rigidly targeted to something.

     

    Here is a list of the various kits: https://ecg.mit.edu/george/tos/

    • #6
    • December 2, 2019, at 10:47 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  7. Judge Mental Member

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    My older brother and I had an uncle that always sent us interesting, sometimes scientific, things. In face, one year he sent us a subscription to “Things of Science”. Every month, we would get a small brown cardboard box in the mail. It was meant to be kept and had tabs which would hold the lid on when bent.

    Inside would be a lesson in something like optics and also what ever it took to do experiments to follow the lesson. There were telescopes, pin-hole cameras, fossils and so on. The insecticide month was pretty disastrous for any bugs we found.

    I would love to be that sort of uncle to my nephew and nieces, but so many new things rely less on the kid’s imagination and are more rigidly targeted to something.

     

    Here is a list of the various kits: https://ecg.mit.edu/george/tos/

    Someone has been advertising something similar to that on TV lately. Maybe a bit more engineering focused. Gas-powered rockets, syringe controlled hydraulics.

    • #7
    • December 2, 2019, at 11:14 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  8. kelsurprise, drama queen Member

    This story reminded me of some dear friends of my parents who’d moved away when I was just barely old enough to remember them but they stayed in touch and never failed to send Christmas presents every year — usually books, for us kids — wonderful, amazing and perfect books for whatever age we happened to be at the time. Don’t know how they always managed to do that. Still have a couple and passed on others to nieces and nephews. 

    I seemed to always be the first one up on Christmas morning and would creep downstairs to confirm that the stockings were stuffed and the gifts from Santa had arrived, before waking my sisters. I couldn’t say my “R”s when I was a kid and to this day, my older sister Chris loves to leave voicemails for me, doing her best impression of me, on Christmas morning:

    “Kwis, Kwis! Wake up! Ow pwesents oh heah! Ow pwesents oh heah!!!

     

    • #8
    • December 2, 2019, at 1:21 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  9. Randy Webster Member

    My daughter used to give me wonderful gifts. She gave me the first three volumes of the rerelease of Pogo. Knowing that I’m a big Douglas Adams fan, she gave me a golf towel with “42” embossed on it. And, because of my liking of “The Princess Bride,” she gave me a shirt with a printed on name tag like you get at conventions saying “Hello, my name is” (in print) “Inigo Montoya You killed my Father. Prepare to die” (handwritten).

    • #9
    • December 2, 2019, at 4:05 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  10. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    Spring a surprise on Ricochet; sign up to write a post on December’s theme: “Memories.” Stop by soon, before the days are all taken!

    • #10
    • December 3, 2019, at 12:31 AM PST
    • 1 like
  11. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    Suspira (View Comment):

    I’ve just edited this. Apparently that which I was trying to put in italics was deleted altogether. Sorry about that.

    No one ever fully explains that the Elf on the Shelf is still a mischievous imp up to no good…

    • #11
    • December 4, 2019, at 4:22 PM PST
    • 1 like