The menorah Danny's using has been in our family more than fifty years.
"Danny, do you like the movie Cars?" She asked.
He nodded that he did. Di went to the cabinet, and brought out this ornament, left from the previous Christmas. Let me tell you, he clung to that ornament through the hotel stay, and all the clean-up and putting back together at home. The following Christmas, Danny got his first tree, and this was the first ornament hung. It was just a silly, plastic ornament, but it meant a great deal to him then, and it still does hanging front and centre on the tree.
We got to talking about what my favourite holiday presents were as a youngster. Strangely enough, I don't remember all that many presents as I think most of the time my parents just gave us money. The things that stick in my memory were the strange gifts, like the year I was eight, and my mum bought me a Frank Zappa record. I don't know why either, but after a few weeks of listening to, "You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here" I'm certain she regretted it. I'm sure she didn't regret it as much as the Revolutionary War reproduction fife the following year. I never did get very good at playing it without screeching. I gave it to a neighbour's kid when we moved from Boston in 2001. I doubt he ever got good with it either. One Christmas, I woke to a 10 lb. candy cane sitting on the piano bench (we didn't have a fireplace at that house). I suspect it was a gift from one of my dad's customers. We had to chip at the thing with a hammer to get pieces of candy, which was fun until Valentine's day rolled around and we were sick of looking at peppermint. I'm sure it was binned shortly after, and I regret not having a photo of it as I've never seen another like it. One year someone made us matching crochet granny square vests out of pink and white angora. I never wore mine-I can't imagine my sister did either. Then, there was the year my dad brought home a balloon, and a bottle of Benedictine. I was ten. I think he forgot it was Christmas eve, and kind of panicked and bought the first thing he could find at his last customer of the day. Can you imagine presenting a child with a bottle of booze today? Yes, it was a very small bottle, and the drinking age was much lower than it is now, but still. I tried some to be polite, I remember it as medicinal. B&B would have been an entirely different story.
Keeping with the tradition of odd gifts, Danny looked at the strangely wrapped Hanukkah gift tonight and asked, "What is this, some sort of prosthetic leg?" He couldn't have known how close he was, as once the wrapping paper was off it revealed a theatrical pirate's hook that you can wear over the hand. Mr. ETB bought that one. It wasn't a bottle of Benedictine, but it was close.
Now you share-what's the strangest thing your parents ever bought you?