I adore wrapping presents. My first paid job where I had to give my social security number was in the Neiman’s Christmas wrapping sweatshop in the underbelly of the Houston Galleria store. I was a clueless High School Sophomore who had an in with the Manager of Men’s Suits: he was my Dad. That was the same year that the wife of a prominent Houston attorney accidentally received the holiday gift intended for the man’s girlfriend, complete with hand-written note. Oops.
It was there among the 100-pound rolls of gorgeous paper and teeny gold elastic ribbon that I learned the art of gift-wrapping. My Father actually took the time to teach me how to press each corner impeccably and how to fold the edges with double-sided tape. He cared about the details almost a millionth as much as he did me. He wanted me to do well and eventually be moved onto the floor where he could see me more. All in due time.
I have carried the essence of my Neiman’s parcel-perfecting education with me into the Big Lots reality of my life. With the right box and bow anything is possible. Some years for Father’s Day I do the memory of Pop’s standards proud with a coordinated theme or just adorable World Market wrappings. For lack of time and inspiration, this year it was a recycled Bodacious Barbeque to-go bag. As the guys were loading me up Friday Night I thought “that bag is perfect for the present I’ve yet to buy John for Father’s Day in 48 hours.”
(In my defense my car Evangeline was in the shop all week and I was totally off my game. Did y’all know July 4th is like 2 weeks away. What’s UP?)
The wrapping skills my Father taught me were far overshadowed, however, by another lesson: “It’s the thought that counts.” It is. Truly. Whether we’ve had just enough money for me to cook John’s favorite meal or been wealthy enough to buy World Market wrapping paper (and even an actual present!) the thought has been there. How could it not be? John is my closer. You know when that selfish person shoves crap in a closet to the point where the door won’t shut and walks innocently away? That is me. John is the patient soul who sorts through the numerous items to make things close properly.
John is the steady hand to my Chicken-Little anxieties and a human reminder that I should Carpe my Diem. He is good to the core and he loves my Mom. As a Father he has always been loving, faithful and fair. He led our kids to Christ and prayed with them. He has spent his life in ministry extending God’s love to those passed-over. The truth is simple: God’s love leaves no one out. Neither does John. He does not think others should be required to pay for the grace he was freely given. Crazy concept, right?
So this year I will celebrate the guy with a barbecue bag. And a few thoughts on why I’m crazy blessed. I could never explain it all and he would recoil if I tried. I do offer my humble admiration to my polar opposite and my faithful closer of closets.