My Favorite Gift
I have one sibling, a brother named Tom, who is four years older than me. We have never been very close, but he is my brother and he’s all I got. We don’t talk much, we don’t see each other very often, but we share the same mom and dad and that alone bonds us in this time and place. There is a lot I could write about my brother. He is one very colorful character. He is a good soul. He knows no strangers and is a friend to all, including the random couple he invited for Christmas Eve because they had no place to go.
For many years, it has been an unwritten rule that we not exchange gifts at Christmas, though I usually get him a little something. Neither of us have expendable cash, but often I find some little trinket or a hat that I think he might like. This year, I didn’t.
I woke at my parent’s house this morning and made my way to the kitchen. My mother and brother were up. Mom was reading the paper. Tommy had something on the TV. We had coffee, ate warm cinnamon rolls and waited for the rest of the troops to wake up. My dad, Tom’s girlfriend, and his 11-year old son, Cole, eventually joined us.
Most of the gifts were for Cole, of course, but there was something for everyone. Cole was passing out the presents. There was a big one, obviously a picture or painting of some sort wrapped in newspaper comics. My eye went right to it because my name had been written on it with a black magic marker. I knew instinctively it was from my brother. Cole picked it up and brought it to me. I said to Tommy, I didn’t buy you anything this year. He said, I don’t care about that.
My brother is a collector of sorts. He peruses antique stores, garage sales, and thrift stores for forgotten items that just might be worth a million, or not. He delights in telling the story behind every single thing he finds and his delight is contagious.
I can’t remember the last time my brother bought me a gift. I found myself wanting to cry. I ripped the paper and gazed upon an original drawing. For the past year I have been trying to find something to hang on an open wall in my bedroom and there it was. He said, When I saw that, I knew you would like it. He was absolutely right.