Every Christmas my sister, brother and their families and us gather at one of our houses for the family Christmas. We used to congregate at my dad’s house, but when he died years ago we started a new tradition. The tradition was tweaked over the years, especially during the pandemic, but I think I can say at this point it is what it is.
Have you ever played the game where you place a wrapped gift somewhere (usually under a tree or on a table) and someone can pick it? Then you can trade back and forth until finally everybody is all traded out. Theoretically everyone goes home happy. We do that but with the stipulation that the gift should be one our father would likely have purchased.
Dad was a quirky gentleman who bought quirky gifts. He would get pounds and pounds of catalogs (before online shopping) and at one point the mailperson complained. It didn’t matter, he just ordered more. He would keep notes on what he ordered. The problem was (depending on if you think it is a problem) he couldn’t stop. He would see just one more thing for someone and had to purchase it. Then he’d have to purchase something else, and stuff for stockings. Yes, he put up stockings for everyone, and if the gifts overflowed, he would place a paper bag on the hearth and call it the “annex.” His tree was a live one, but small, and stood on a card table with all the gifts underneath.
My dad had good taste, but he enjoyed humorous gifts too. Usually it was appreciated except maybe the egg separator that looked like a nose. The egg whites came out the nostrils. I never used it…I just couldn’t. But we are even—we once got him a little wooden boy that would pee into dad’s pond when you attached the hose just right. He never put it outside. Really? He didn’t mind the snotty egg but drew the line at pee boy? Anyway, when we started our sibs Christmas, we agreed that the gift we purchased should be anonymous, around $30-40, and remind us of Dad.
Dad loved to fish. I have written about his fishing obsession; the fish are breathing/gilling easier now that he’s no longer around to outsmart them (whether he ever was is up for debate).
During the winter he would examine his tackle and name the red and white round bobbers…”whatta bobber”, “ali bobber” for example, and write these names on his bobbers with a sharpie.
Imagine my delight when I found the perfect Dad gift at Best Buy! It was a cooler that looked like a bobber! I wrapped it up knowing that someone would love this rather large memento. They did, it was a roaring success!
The next year, a family member decided to continue the happiness and bought another bobber cooler. Now there were two in the family! How delightful! The next year, I believe someone bought one and filled it up with beer or something, which (hard to believe) actually increased the trading value. At this point there were mumbles coming from the family that the bobber cooler may have possibly outlived it’s appeal. The next few years people actually predicted and avoided the large bobber cooler packages, since everybody (almost) had one. Yes, almost, because I did not have one.
This year, I chose a large package because frankly I’m getting old and forgetful and I had forgotten about the bobber cooler possibility. My brother brought it to the party and he picks…interesting gifts like the cat going Godzilla on the gnomes that I got a couple years ago.
I opened it and to my surprise it was a bobber cooler!
It was not just a bobber cooler but a bobber cooler full of pork rinds, sweet potato chips, churro chips and pistachios.
My husband has been working on the pistachios and I finished the churro chips already. Not sure what’s going to become of the pork rinds. Chester kind of likes them, as does my husband…but that’s a lot of pork rinds even for a hound. Another surprise was that nobody stole it from me!? I tried to hide it by surreptitiously keeping it in the bag and scooting it behind my legs but nobody even looked my way. Their loss.
At the end we reveal what we purchased so we can thank the person (I wasn’t supposed to know that it was my brother’s but I saw him come in with it so…can’t fool a former investigator!) My sister-in-law exclaimed to my brother, “Did you give away our bobber cooler?” and “I can’t believe you gave away our bobber cooler!” Somebody is in the doghouse…but we are going to take it back for a visit this summer when they host the first official Bobber Cooler Day at their pool. This may be at the end of the “Donut Trail” outing, a trip you can take in Ohio where you visit bakeries and donut shops. Did you ever go to a Krispy Kreme donut shop and watch the glazed donuts go down the assembly ramp? They used to give us a free one and it was still warm. Did you ever want to lay on a Krispy Kreme roller and be coated with glaze? But I digress….Kentucky has their Bourbon Trail, Ohio does donuts!
Hope your New Year is starting off swimmingly! Chester and the cats are all fine and Chester met a new girlfriend, Zoe, a puppy in the neighborhood. I love it when he makes friends! Have a good week!