“Hey Mom!” Andy, my five year old son, raced into the kitchen with what appeared to be a few dollar bills wadded up in his hands.
“What?” I was busy frying chicken, an art which I still have not mastered to this day.
“I counted my money up, and I know what I want to buy Dad for his birthday!”
“I thought you had decided on some socks. You said his smelled funny.” I smiled at my son, who just last week had made the decision that his parents would no longer be called Mommy and Daddy.
“No, no. I changed my mind. I was over at Johnny's house, and I saw the coolest thing! Johnny gave one to his Dad. It's just the coolest, Mom. Will you take me to Lowenberg's?
“Lowenberg's? That's a Men's clothing store. What is this 'coolest' thing? A shirt?”
“You'll have to wait and see. I want you and Dad to be surprised.”
“Well, they have some fancy clothes in that store, and you know Dad doesn't wear fancy clothes.” My casual dressing husband, Rob, refused to wear anything fancier than a sports jacket with an open collar, even to church, weddings, or funerals.
“Well, he'll wear this, I betcha!” His eyes lit up and he did a little tap dance.
I had serious doubts. However, my son was so enthusiastic about this project, I didn't have the heart to say “no.”
“Okay. We'll go to Lowenberg's tomorrow. Now, go wash up and tell Dad dinner will be ready in ten minutes.”
“Yay, yay, yay!” He chanted as he bounced out of the kitchen.
The next morning we were in Lowenberg's. My son got a determined look on his face and asked me to let him find and pay for the gift himself.
“Please Mom, I don't want you to see it. It's so special that I want to keep it a secret until Dad opens it. Please?”
“I am not leaving you in this store alone. I will stand over here and keep an eye on you while you shop.”
“Okay, but don't look at what I buy.”
I watched my son as he went through some items on a table and then some racks, until he found what he was looking for. A big smile came on his face, and I knew his search was over. I tried not to look directly at what he was holding just out of my line of sight, but I couldn't help but glimpse its colors. They were bright blue and yellow. Oh, Rob, I did not see this one coming!
He marched right up to the sales counter and handed his item and money to the saleslady. She complimented him on his exquisite taste and smiled.
“Why, thank you, Ma'am.” My son beamed at her.
“Is this for yourself?”
“No Ma'am, it's for my Dad.”
“Would you like it gift wrapped?"
“Oh, yes Ma'am, please!”
The next day we celebrated Rob's birthday with a barbeque and friends. Presents were piled high on the table, and Rob opened them and responded with the appropriate “oohs,” “ aahs,” and “thank yous.” Andy was squirming with excitement. At last, Rob came to Andy's present, and as he unwrapped it, my son's face had never looked so beautiful to me.
As Rob pulled his gift out of the box a smile broke out on his face that matched his son's. The guests at the barbeque stood agape, as their eyes fell on a bright yellow and blue neck tie, with Daffy Duck plastered in strategic places all over it.
I couldn't help but gasp. My dear husband didn't wear even wear plain ties! He maintained that Jesus didn't wear a tie, and neither would he. I held my breath and waited for Rob's reaction.
“This is the most beautiful tie I have ever seen!” Rob stood up, put the tie around his neck and proceeded to knot it. It looked somewhat funny with his white polo, but he didn't care.
Two weeks later, the three of us went to my niece's wedding, and Rob was a virtual fashion plate in his nicest blue sport coat and Daffy Duck tie. Some family members in attendance frowned upon my free-spirit husband's attire.
Andy was smiling from ear to ear.
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