Just when you thought she had sunk to an all time Christmas low by giving my brother-in-law an onion for Christmas, my grandmother took it to a whole different level the following Christmas.
It started like any other Christmas for us; we woke up late, opened presents and then headed to my grandmother’s house for some good old-fashioned Christmas cheer. I didn’t know it at the time, but this would possibly be the worst Christmas I have ever had. OK, Maybe “the worst” is a little harsh. Afterall, any time you get to spend time with your family on Christmas is a good time.
What the hell am I saying; it was the worst Christmas ever!
Just like all the other times, I couldn’t wait to open presents. I swear I always got so excited. I couldn’t wait to see who got some shitty robe, crappy house-shoes or better yet (and after last years Christmas miracle) another marvelous Christmas onion.
(This year was a bit sadder than other Christmas’s though. My grandfather (one of the sweetest people on the planet) had died earlier in the year of lung cancer. He had smoked all his life and it finally caught up to him.)
Fast forward past the usual Christmas “blah blah” stuff, it was time to open gifts.
As we went around the room, I kept looking at the box in front of me that was labeled “From Santa”, because I knew that it was from my grandmother. I couldn’t help but let my mind wonder about what was inside. What could she have given me this year? I knew it wasn’t house shoes as the size of the box gave that away. I was sure it wasn’t a robe, since I just got one last year. What could it be? Heaven forbid she tried to buy me some clothes. A sweater maybe? I just couldn’t wait to see what it was!
Finally, it was my turn. Now up until this point, this Christmas had turned out to be a disappointment. Nobody had received what I had started to refer to as the “standout” gift. At least I don’t remember anyone getting anything out of the ordinary.
As I said, it was finally my turn and as I started to open my gift, a really bad feeling rushed over me. Wait a second, I hadn’t seen anyone get the standout gift yet, so that must mean that I am the chosen one this year. DAMN IT! At this point it was too late to turn back. I had already started opening the gift. As I pulled the last piece of paper off the end of the box and cut away the tape on the edges, I remember taking one last scan of the room. Yep, just as I thought, everyone is watching. Well, here goes!
I pulled the top of the box and saw nothing but tissue paper. Oh sweet Jesus, what could it be?
I pulled back the tissue paper to expose an object that I was not sure of. I really had no clue what it was. I looked down into the box, clueless. A short time must have passed, because one of my cousins asked, “What is it?” Not knowing what the hell it was, I had no answer. Luckily, my grandmother stepped in to save me.
“It’s a robe”, she said in a proud way.
At this point, my first thought was, “A robe”. Hell, I just got one last year! What the hell. But this didn’t look like a normal robe to me. Even after she told me it was a robe, I couldn’t really tell what it was because it didn’t look like a robe (at least not one I had seen).
First of all, it had my name one it. I had never seen a robe with a person name on it unless it had been embroidered on the robe. But this was NOT embroidery. Just over the left breast on the robe was a white patch that had been sewn on to the robe, and on the white patch was my name…written in Sharpie.
“That’s odd.” I thought. Not that my name was written in Sharpie on my robe (though that definitely qualifies). The strange part was that I could see other letters behind the hand written ones that made up my name.
Quickly trying to make sense of what was going on, I closely examined the robe as I pulled it out of the box. I noticed a few odd things besides the fact that my name was written over another name. I noticed that the robe was made out of a very thin blue material. This was NOT a normal house robe; it was way to thin for that. What the hell is this?
“Hold it up” my grandmother said again.
Yeah great, that’s what I want to do.
“Yeah, go on” my cousin said, with that little shit eating grin on his face.
I had no choice now but to show the world my “robe”. I reached in to the box and pulled it out, unfolded it, held it by the shoulders and stared at it as I held it at arm’s length.
“What in the hell is this thing?” I thought. Peering just over the shoulder of the robe I quickly scanned the room to see if anyone else had figured out what it was. Judging by a few of the faces they had. Some looked like they had just seen a ghost; others looked as if they wanted to fall out with laughter.
“Stand up and put it on honey” my grandmother said.
I scanned the “robe” one more time and noticed something odd; it had a big blood stain on the left sleeve in the area near the crease in your arm.
“Nanny, where did you get this robe” I asked in the most neutral tone I could muster up.
“From Santa” she replied in a cute little voice.
Still trying to make sense of the situation, I opened the robe up and noticed that I could now make out what looked like the other name on the inside part of the name tag.
Melvin is my grandfather’s name.
It all made sense once I saw the name. This isn’t a robe, it’s a hospital gown. That blood was either stains from an I.V. or where they had drawn blood from grandfather.
On the bright side, at least she had turned the rob inside-out so that it would tie in front.
“Try it on,” She said.
I couldn’t move because I was too stunned. I could not believe that I was holding in my hands the hospital gown once worn only a few months ago by my now dead grandfather. Even more traumatic than that was the fact that my grandmother was trying to pass this thing off as a gift to me, like she bought it and customized it for me.
“Try it on,” She said again, still beaming with pride.
I couldn’t move. I didn’t know what to do. I have never been so mortified in my whole entire young life.
“Lets Eat!” My mother said quickly, grabbing the robe from my hands and shoving it back in the box.
Those words were the single best gift I have ever received on Christmas.
Feel free to try and make me feel better by leaving a comment and telling me about the worst gift you ever got for Christmas.