Wednesday, March 25, 2015

That Was One Weird Gift

My friend Julie gave me a surprise birthday party the summer before my senior year, and my friend Kevin gave me a weird gift. Kind of a cool gift, but kinda weird, too. Weird on many levels.

First of all, it was "wrapped" in leg of jeans. He cut the leg off of an old pair of jeans, put the gift inside, and sewed up both ends. I had to cut the jeans to get the gift out. Creative . . . funny! . . . but very weird.

Then, the item I actually fished out of the denim was a decorative wooden box, about seven inches square. Very pretty . . . but I wasn't sure what to think of this. I mean, yeah, it was pretty, but why exactly was he giving me this box? Was it, like, a jewelry box? Was there some meaning behind it? Was it a joke gift? It's not really the kind of thing a boy gives a 17-year-old girl that's his good buddy. I turned it over in my hand a few times wondering how to respond to this -- and getting no clue from everyone around me who seemed as stumped as I was.

"Open it!" Kevin said. Whew! I thought. There's something inside! Now it'll make sense. So I opened the lovely box and found, lying on a pile of potpourri, a sea horse skeleton.

Yes, an actual skeleton of a sea horse. And again, I was stumped.

Because again -- it was kinda cool, but kinda weird. Very delicate and fascinating, but also rather creepy. And again -- who gives this kind of thing to a 17-year-old girl that's your good buddy? Where in the world do you even find a sea horse skeleton anyway? And again, nobody around me was sure what to think of this gift either.

You see, Kevin was kinda like that -- cool, but different. He grinned enthusiastically and gushed about the thing: "See? It's a sea horse! Isn't it awesome?" I wasn't sure if he really meant that or if he wanted us to get the joke and crack up. If he was sincere, I didn't want him to feel bad that we thought his amazing, unique gift was a joke. But if it was a joke, I didn't want him to feel bad that it fell flat. I was totally stumped.

I'm still stumped. I have no clue why Kevin gave me a sea horse skeleton for my 17th birthday.

But you know what? I kept that thing for years. Kept it in the jeans for a long time, but after a while, I tossed the leg of jeans and just kept the box, on a shelf with other decorative items in the house. The potpourri dried up, but the sea horse still lay on it inside.

And guess when I needed that sea horse? When I was homeschooling.

During our study of the ocean, I pulled out that box and showed my girls the skeleton of the sea horse and they ooohed and aaahed to beat the band. For that morning, I was the coolest homeschool mom in the county to have an actual SEA HORSE sitting in a potpourri box on my shelf.

So, there you go, Kev. Thanks for that moment of glory! I'm sure that's what you had in mind way back in the summer of '85.

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