Friday, January 07, 2011

Ribbonless Presents, Unwrapped Gifts

By James J. Gormley

Now that the holidays are over, it’s worth remembering that gifts don’t always come in shiny red paper with bright golden ribbons. One of the first gifts I received from my parents had no holiday packaging at all.

On cold winter nights, when I was two, my father, whom I would call Papa, and later “Pa,” would lie awake on the floor next to my crib to comfort me when I would awaken with a bad dream. That’s what a father is; that’s who my father is.

I remember so many special times with my father and mother from my childhood. Me inside the shopping cart Pa pushed up the hill to the A and P. My father telling me the stories about how he and his father, the Old Man, would drive the horse-and-carriage along the Boston Post Road, in Mamaroneck, N.Y., before there were cars. Pa gently singing “All the Kings Horses and All the Kings Men” to me as a bedtime lullaby. Playing catch at Bowne Park in Flushing, N.Y., where I grew up. Walking Rexie, my dog, along the tracks of the Long Island Railroad.

My father and mother gave me so many things, ribbon-less presents that I can never reciprocate. Priceless gifts of love, time, caring, wisdom and so much more. I hope Pa knows and Ma knew how special they have always been to me, even if I haven’t always shown it.

Now that the holiday season is over, remember that exchanging presents isn’t the only way to show appreciation to the people who have made a difference in your life. Your gifts to them don’t have to be fancy or trendy or expensive or wrapped in shiny red paper with bright golden ribbons.

Offer them your gratitude to honor, in a small way, all of the many unwrapped gifts they have given you.

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