OUR family gives simple but thoughtful presents. Some are traditional: socks for my daughter and Kleenex she can't get in the states. Something with a penguin and a book of Cryptoquotes for me.
After my dad moved to Florida, when we still lived in Boston, each year he would send a box of grapefruit-sized oranges with a note...
Jimmy and Norma
Succulent is the best word to describe them.
He died two days after Christmas, one day after his 69th birthday. To say I missed him, and still do even though I am now four years older than he was when he died, is an understatement.
Like all deaths of loved ones, the first year is the hardest.
I was sitting at my desk where I shared a cubicle with my assistant. Digital Credit Union, where I was Communication Director, was about to move into its own building, but until then as our staff expanded things were more and more crowded.
My assistant and I worked together perfectly even in the crowded space. "Please move your knees so I can open a drawer," was an oft-spoken request.
A box, from my stepmom. had been delivered to my desk.
I opened it. It was packed with oranges and the card read...
Jimmy and Norma
I must have paled, because my assistant asked what was wrong. I handed him the card. My dead father had sent me a Christmas gift.
I called my wonderful stepmom and told her.
"They must not have changed the card like I asked. I'm sorry."
"Don't be," I said. My dad in his own way still was sending me a Christmas gift, this one for the last time.
It was one of the best presents I've ever had.