December 5th, 2015 by Jan

When I hear — it’s the thought that counts… ugh…

Okay, I’m not really that cynical, but when I hear those words I brace myself for a crappy present or no present at all. Perhaps, it is the history I have around gifts and family.

My mom, as you know was a hoarder — so she couldn’t give any thing away that she wanted or that had any value. The presents I got from her, truth be told, were horrid. Many made me cry. A note would be attached that said, “I’m thinking of you.” And I would wonder — what is she thinking? Then I was reminded that, “It’s the thought that counts.”

While I do know now, that mom loved me, she just had some of her own problems, it was well known that my step-mother did not love me.

When it was time to pass on presents – Christmas, birthday, etc. My step-mother would announce to a crowded room that the present she got for me was on back order, out of stock, or still in the mail. And, surprise, surprise — nothing ever came. The topic was dropped, I did not receive a present, and if I brought it up I would be told, “It’s the thought that counts.”

It may be the thought that counts, but sometimes, the thoughts are shitty or can’t be helped, but yesterday… the thought that was put into a gift made my heart soar!

Yesterday – I have new meaning to this phrase. I am absolutely delighted and take great joy in both the gift and the thought that was behind what I received from my brother Art.

Some background…

In the last three years I’ve gone to New Mexico well over a dozen times to help with the care of my dad.

During some of the early trips, I had the fortune to lunch with my old friend, the late Bun Ryan. Bun was a story teller and I could sit at his table for hours listening to him, tell one after the next. I would howl with laughter and cry with delight as his stories seem to all have fantastic punchlines!

One story he told was of his friend Lou Lebby. He never said outright, but it was implied that Lou came to New Mexico under circumstances that made the witness protection program look like a good idea. Anyway – he was with Lou and their wives on shopping trip one day. The women were taking too long trying on dresses and such. Lou and Bun were typical men waiting around uncomfortable in the store. Finally, they were done and as everyone got in the car for the ride home, Lou takes a nice handbag out of his coat and gives it to Bun, saying it would make a nice gift to give his wife. Bun appalled asked, “How the hell did you get that?” Lou smiled and said, “I swung with it!”

He swung with it!

Now, during another one of times I ate lunch with Bun, I saw a metal pitcher that the restaurant used for the water. I loved it. I l even asked the wait staff if I could buy one. The answer was no, so I jokingly asked Bun if he would swing one for me. He didn’t, but we all laughed.

That was years ago.

Yesterday, I received a box in the mail from Art. Christmas time joy!

Inside was one of these pitchers … and a note that said, “I swung with it.” Happy Holidays.

THIS! This is what they mean when they say, it’s the thought that counts.

Best present ever!


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