My dad doesn't shop.
He doesn't want anything. He doesn't need anything. He doesn't buy anything.
Window shopping. A foreign concept.
It's no stretch to think that us kids are adopted so that he would have someone to help him buy mom's Christmas gift.
Because that is exactly what happens.
My sister and I were usually enlisted to help him find a gift for Mom.
When my sister died, the job fell to me and my sister-in-law. We used to alternate the task each year.
One year, we forced an embargo. Dad, you've known the woman for 35 years. Man up and buy a gift.
That ended in disaster. Poor mom was nearly heartbroken.
A couple of years ago, I was totally on top of things. I had finished my shopping three weeks before Christmas. Everything was wrapped.
Then, the week before Christmas Dad called and asked me to help.
Oh man! Dad, I'm done shopping. I am NOT going back to the stores!
But I couldn't let him down. I told him I'd call him when I figured out what to get her.
The next day he called again, wanting to know what I decided.
"You're getting her a new watch. The watch she has is more than 20 years old. It's a quality watch but it's starting to come apart."
Okay, dad says. Why don't you go to W*lM*rt and... ?
I interuppted -
"NO! Dad. Seriously. You can't afford the finders fee I would charge if I had to go to W*lM*rt the week before Christmas! Besides. She has a Se!ko. We're not replacing that with a T!mex from W*lM*rt!"
He was worried. He just hates spending money and he knows my taste so he knew he wasn't going to get off cheap.
I shopped and shopped for the right watch. Finally, I told him the damage.
A heavy sigh on his end of the line, even though I'd done really well. Frugal but quality.
Then came Christmas Eve.
When my sister-in-law saw that Mom was about to open a gift from Dad, she panicked. Leaning over she whispered, "I didn't help him. Are we okay?"
"Yeah. I took care of it."
Mom was thrilled!
After we cleaned up all the damaged wrapping paper, she sat next to me admiring her new watch.
"I just love it." she said, "It's so pretty."
"Has Dad seen it?"