The perfect gift part 1

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Eric Keller salad bowl fails
(Eric Keller photo)

Christmas is supposed to be the happiest time of the year — at least that’s what the stores tell you while they bombard you with advertisements during the holiday season. I say holiday because stores rarely say Christmas anymore. But to me, Christmas is Christmas, and my family looks forward to it every year.

Maybe they look forward to the homemade eggnog, maybe the homemade peanut butter cups that are the size of Texas or maybe it’s the gifts and money. We mostly abandoned the commercialization of Christmas a long time ago. We found that handmade gifts were more precious … and affordable.

Last year, my daughter began taking an interest in the guitar. We didn’t have the money to buy her a guitar, but with my experience and a little patience, she and I built a guitar from a kit. It turned out to be a wonderful gift. It was perfect. To this day, she still spends countless hours practicing and playing, along with her saxophone and clarinet.

But that was last year, and this is this year; there is a certain feeling after being married for nearly two decades about anticipating your spouse’s wish list. I worked so hard thinking of what she would want. Picked it out in my head and worked countless hours on it. I can’t even tell you how much it cost, but I can tell you how warm it made me feel inside to know that I got her what she wanted. It was the most thoughtful, kind, and perfect gift. Plus, it was handmade, which earns me a few brownie points, and I can always use more points.

When I finally asked her what she wanted. She sat there nonchalantly as though she didn’t even know that Christmas was coming. Humbly, she began to answer and thankfully her list was not as long as the kids’. She simply replied that she didn’t want anything.

That’s when I found myself grinning ear to ear because all my hard work to create the most perfect, thoughtful and endearing gift came to fruition. I got her exactly what she wanted. Precisely what she asked for.

Nothing!

It was definitely a little less than she deserved, but it’s not like I tried to get her nothing. In fact, I had big plans for her gift this year.

The plan started off as a new salad bowl, at least in my head. But not just any salad bowl. A salad bowl made of solid cherry from our own cherry tree from the backyard that we cut down. Carefully cut into smaller more workable pieces, that would come together as an entire wooden salad bowl and bowls set. Then the magic was going to come from the hand-carved wooden utensils, spoons, ladles, salad forks. I spent hours looking at plans and studying guys on YouTube who made this look simple and easy.

Unfortunately, it was anything but easy. Without any real knowledge of how to use the angle grinder, I felt a little uncomfortable carving into a chunk of wood. And for good reason…

To be continued …

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