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Notes From A Gift-Traumatized Granny
by Beth Boswell Jacks

    I hear our shops are doing pretty well in spite of the economy, thanks to dedicated Christmas shoppers. Americans are born to buy, I guess, and thats good news for merchants.

    A dedicated shopper, however, Im not. Christmas Day is only a couple of weeks away, and Ive hardly scratched a thing off my list. Truth is, I havent even made a list. Im a complete failure at Christmas falderal. Im unorganized and unprepared, but not untrimmed. (The house is semi-decorated, due to my annual hosting of the ladies of the church. Thank goodness for that.)

    But, hear me sigh, the big seasonal question mark, once again, is what to buy for the seven grandkids. They are just too darn smart, their hobbies are too complicated, and I know nothing about the latest whiz-bang gizmos that interest them. I could give them money, but their parents would keep most of it, and also the kids wouldnt have anything to unwrap from granddaddy G-Man (also known as Pop) and me. Thats no fun.

    You know, we kind of expect the older grandkids to mature into those gray areas where we totally lose connection with what theyre doing and thinking, but seems now even the little bitties are beyond my comprehension.

    G-Man called daughter Bethanys house a couple of weeks ago, and 6-year-old Wilkins answered the phone.

    Wilkins, said G-Man, this is Pop. Could I speak to your daddy?

    This  is  not  Wilkins, our precocious grandson droned. This  is  an  automated  answering  machine. We  cannot  take  your  call  right  now

    Wilkins! G-Man said to the imp, Cmon. Let me speak to your daddy.

    Sorry, said Wilkins, automated  answering  machines  dont  have  a  daddy!

    And Ive got to find a cool gift for this child? Hes six years old and hes all into gadgets like automated answering machines?

    When did I get to be so old? Todays children live in another world  a world where Christmas lists include stuff like Mimobot USB Flash Drives, motorized vehicle erectors, iSoundz instruments, and Virtual Funkeys.

    These weird items with funny names dont know me.

    I could probably make a decent stab at stuff like camcorders (point me in the right direction), digital cameras (still a mystery), personal robots (as opposed to impersonal robots?), and blasting boom boxes (the parents would kill me). And I might be able to select an iPod; I have friends who could help.

    But where, I wonder, are the cool, calm toys of yesteryear, like Lincoln Logs and paper dolls and Pick-Up Sticks? Does anybody sell Lionel trains or Tinkertoys? What about those fabulous, hand-clicked view-masters that used to take me around the world? Who ordered the demise of Chatty Cathy and Betsy Wetsy? And where are the beautiful Madam Alexander Little Women dolls? As a child, I collected them all.

    And books, books, books! Now, instead of books, the kids beg for snazzy computers or anything electronic or battery powered.

    This is why Im behind with the Christmas shopping. I need a guide/translator to accompany me on a shopping trip . . . and I need a lot of cash. Things that go bzzzzzzzzzzz in the night are not cheap.

    Believe me, I want our businesses to sell lots during the holiday season, but I cant help but admire the following passage from the writings of the amazing Dr. Seuss:

    And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?  And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

    Reckon my seven grandkids would accept that sentiment and a $20 bill?

    No, me either.


    For more SNIPPETS stories, read these:
    Ava's Story
    A Towel Piece ~ A Tribute
    Spring Cleaning ~ Here We Go 'Round In Circles
    Conquering the Wild Blue Yonder
    Trail rides, cantles and beans...Hellooo, Mama!
    Ben Skelton: Peace Corps Volunteer
    Smiles, Not Fists...
    Dance ~ the Soul's Hidden Language
    Class Reunion Advice
    Searching for the Inner Animal
    It Was a Dark and Stormy... you know
    Granny Does the Shoshone
    Forget Your Troubles ~ C'mon, Get Older!
    How to Eat Crawdads
    Thanksgiving Humor - Granny's Confession

    For stories at USADS by columnist Beth Boswell Jacks, click here: SNIPPETS
    And find even more here: MORE SNIPPETS

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