What do a red bicycle, a 60’s stereo system and a four leaf clover have in common?

We asked our guest writers to describe the best gift they have ever received. It’s amazing how different all the answers are and makes us think —

what’s my favorite gift?

bernie shine

a keepsake i still treasure

The best gift I ever received was given to me by my mother.  Of course, she gave me life itself and a childhood of wonderful memories. But the favorite tangible thing she gave me has very little monetary value, something she gifted to me in 1960 when I was 12 years old. It is a bit of a “Rosebud” object to me, a keepsake I still treasure. It’s a simple cellophane encased 4-leaf clover on a display card on which she wrote “To Bernie, Love always Mother.” The card was imprinted “Genuine 4-Leaf Clover, Good Luck.” So far, so good. – Bernie Shine

elin hampton

shiny red joy

When my husband and I were dating, he bought me a shiny new red bicycle on our first Valentines Day.  This was significant because bicycling was something that I loved and he had taken notice.  Even though my Saturday morning weekly boardwalk rides took me away from him, he knew that they gave me joy and he supported my passion.  They say that you’re supposed to give gifts that you yourself would want, but this was a special gift because it was something that he didn’t want.  It was just for me. – Elin Hampton

Natalie Soriano

sweet moments

Hands-down, it is uninterrupted quality time with people I adore.  This gift has appeared in many forms, and these touching examples have stayed in my heart over the years.  It is a phone call from a former teacher, checking in on me in my first year of college, it’s cooking lessons from a sweet friend who wants to pass on the joy of nourishing our bodies and souls, it’s the fun treat of getting a manicure with a loving girlfriend, or an afternoon of tea and great conversation with a beautiful soul.  Underneath all of these things is love, acceptance and a celebration of genuine connection.  My heart expands just thinking about these sweet moments.  I welcome many more of them, and treasure both the people and the times we have shared. – Natalie Soriano

anne cochran

a smashing sound sensation

Kindly Marjorie Bright babysat me while my mother worked as a stenographer from the time I was born until I started school. I called her “Bright” or as the limits of my toddler diction would allow — “Bot.” Bright lived in a tiny tarpaper shack near the levee of an Ohio River tributary, just north of Cairo, IL. Whatever was Bright’s was mine. During my fourth Christmas in ’58, Bright’s son David bought her a newfangled stereo console for Christmas, replete with ‘50s-era pointy feet, walnut paneling and a built-in mini-bar for accessing Four Roses Whiskey and Sears highball glasses. This stereo — a smashing sound sensation on the consumer market — arrived with a stereo/demo LP album featuring a train whistle moving from the right speaker over to the left; single-sharp footsteps walking from left to right…but the very best selection, which I must’ve made Bright play a hundred times was a Rosemary Clooney-type ‘40s-era singer crooning a swinging rendition of “Goody Goody,” replete with jazz band and glamorous cocktail-party clinking of glasses and drunken revelers noisily partying high up over a Manhattan skyline. Wow, what a gift! I was never the same. – Anne Cochran

Jeanette Dubois

The letter

It was the year of the “Quiet Christmas”. My mother had gotten laid off that year and so my parents named it thus. One gift each, that’s it. As the youngest I was still in the excited stage over the whole idea of the holidays, so I was a bit disappointed. Yet I cannot remember what my “official” gift under the tree was – because the other one that showed up Christmas morning meant more to me than anything before or since. It was a letter from my dad, placed carefully under the tree next to my gift, in an envelope with a tiny ribbon on it. He wrote one for each of us. He felt badly he couldn’t do a bigger holiday. But what he could do was tell each of us how much he loved us, and what we meant to him. I still have that letter. And I will never forget the last lines of it; “You may have been our last child, unplanned and unexpected – but you are one I am so glad we didn’t miss. You are, indeed, our Gift From God, Mouse. Merry Christmas.”

M. Eileen Hickey

An important role

The best gift I ever received was not wrapped up in a festive box with a glittery ribbon.  It was in fact a role wrapped up in honor and privilege. While my guitar-playing mother led the procession through our house, her seven children followed with candles inserted in paper plates singing “Silent Night”. And I had the honor of carrying the baby Jesus figurine to the manger at our nativity scene. This was a tradition I always anticipated every Christmas Eve. In the end, the best gift imprinted in my memory is the tradition my mother created to bring unity to our core family.

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How ’bout you? What’s the best gift you’ve ever recieved?

1 Comment

  1. Linda

    The best gift I ever received was the gift of unconditional love from my mother and father. The both died one year apart when I was in high school. They taught me everything I needed to succeed in life. Determination, kindness to others, a deep faith in God, and to realize that everyone is going through some type of trial. To be forgiving. It’s all about love and kindness.


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