Christmas gifts

Ben Robinson

Ben Robinson

All About Ben

By Ben Robinson

This year I’m moving from that group of people who do not buy Christmas gifts because they are broke to the group of people who buy limited and very poor gifts because they are nearly broke.

Next year I hope to move to the group of people who buy nice Christmas gifts because they can afford it. I am almost there, except for that “afford it” part. But at least I can let people know I appreciate them, though honestly my gifts are not good indicators of how much.

The top of my list is my parents, who have stuck behind me through this unemployment spell. I know they do not understand my problems, because neither ever really suffered through unemployment.

My father has retired, and now he fills his spare time by singing with a group of senior citizens. I would really like to get him a songbook with the lyrics of many of the older songs that he sings. The problem is that many of his favorite songs are so old, sheet music is no longer available. Many are available in a book, but I would feel bad about stealing a church hymnal from the local Baptist church.

My mother is another one difficult to buy for. Both she and my father would likely say, “Don’t worry about buying me something,” but I know they want something, even if it’s just to remind them how much I have appreciated their support, even when I do something dumb. Which is often.

My mother is a cook at the Dacusville Middle School lunchroom, and I am not smart enough to be able to do anything that would enhance her career. She cooks the food with care, as if every one of those kids are her grandchildren. I thought of a cookbook, but so far I haven’t found anything she cannot cook merely from memory. You can look at me and see I have not missed too many meals. But a “Thanks for helping me get fat” T-shirt seems a bit awkward.

My sister Rhonda works for a doctor. Note I said “works for a doctor,” not “is a nurse.” But my parents treat her as if she has some form of medical training, going to her for medical advice. Perhaps the best gift for her would be some form of medical degree so she could actually write prescriptions. But that could also be dangerous.

My sister Cyndi is known as the hateful one of our family. But she is also one of the most supportive people I know. It’s odd to have a sibling who will cuss you out when you are wrong, yet defend you when you are right. Sometimes this happens in the same conversation.

Her husband Greg is a big fan of Alabama football. I would get them tickets to the Sugar Bowl, where Alabama will be playing. Maybe I should wait a year, so the Tide will be in the national championship game again.

Then there’s my brother Thom, who is married now, living near Columbia. If I could somehow get him a job up here, so he could return home and avoid confrontations with Gamecock fans, I would. But this year’s budget will probably do good to cover a bumper sticker.

Then there are my three great-nephews, Austin, Nicholas and Carson. Carson’s young enough to where I just need to find him something to slobber on. I will have to be more creative with Austin and Nicholas. Maybe I need to start a college fund for them, but honestly I doubt I would even be able to afford the books for one class.

But the holiday season is upon us. The season of giving, giving and more giving.