There’s always one person who’s really hard to shop for. In my case it’s my sister’s husband, Matthew. No matter what clever idea I come up with, it’s wrong.
Take our first Christmas…He and my sister, Cynthia, were married in October. He’s a good golfer and a successful commercial architect. That’s all I know. I go shopping. I wind up in Bookshop Santa Cruz. I spy the perfect gift! It’s a coffee-table book about miniature golf courses with an astro-turf cover. This covers two of his interests, design and golf. I gloated all the way home.
At the very same moment I am handing the shop-girl my credit card Matthew and Cynthia are browsing in their Petaluma bookstore. Matthew sees the same book and whispers to my sister, “What idiot would buy that?”
When he opened my gift he acted immensely pleased. I was quite proud of myself. Later my sister told me his real opinion.
The next year Cynthia suggested socks. I ask Cynthia what kind of socks Matthew liked. She said, “Gray.”
Terrific I thought. I’ll buy him a dozen pair of gray socks, wooly ones, silk ones, fuzzy ones, dark gray, light gray, long, short. I couldn’t go wrong. Wrong. He likes one specific kind of gray socks, one particular brand, same length, cotton with a little lycra. When he opened the gift, he acted delighted. Cynthia told me he gave them all away.
Maybe that’s the way it is with socks. Years ago, Graham, the four-year-old son of my friend, Patty, got a pair of socks for Christmas. He looked at the socks and said, “Mommy, what could they have been thinking?”
I toured Santa Cruz Artists Open Studios one fall and found these great carvings byDr. Geoffry Gerstein, a retired surgeon. Some of them were faces carved on golf balls. Good gift for Matthew. I bought two, one a paperweight, the other a walking cane, complete with carved golf ball head for the handle.
I visited them for Christmas. I showed the paperweight to Cynthia. “Don’t show that to Matthew!” she warned, “He would not be amused.” I slunk back to the guesthouse and buried it in my suitcase. I bought him a six-pack of vinegar.
Before I left for home I pulled the paperweight out of my suitcase and left it on the nightstand next to my bed.
Come to think of it, my sister isn’t the easiest person to shop for either. Annie Morehouser created Annie Glass in Santa Cruz. In the early days I found “seconds” in Squid Alley, next to Goodwill. Annie Glass is now famous. Signed “firsts” are sold in stores like Gumps. Matthew likes silver. I figured they would love the platinum-rimmed plates. Annie Glass was good for a few years. Then my sister said, “Don’t give us any more. We’ve got it coming out our ears. And no more coffee-table items either. We have too much stuff.”
I decided to give them massages. They don’t have to find a place for them; store, dust, water or feed them. They can enjoy it for what it is: a pleasurable, pampering moment. So far, no complaints.
The only thing is…I still have the cane with the carved face on the golf ball that I got years ago for Matthew at Open Studios. I’ve decided to wrap it up and send it to him for his Aquarius birthday along with a crate of lemons. As you can see and Santa surely knows…I’m bad, bad…very, very bad.
HAPPY HOLIDAZE !