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Friday, December 30, 2016

The "A Gift For The Ages" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Just called my brother, Steve, to give him the bad news.  My story today started last evening when Carol and I were visiting with my brother, Steve, and his family who live about twenty minutes to the north of Lancaster in a small town known as Ephrata.  We always get together the evening after Christmas Day to celebrate the holidays with pizza and cookies.  
My new Rocky Springs shirt.
And, Steve and I have the best times reminiscing about all the relatives and times past.  Wasn't long before Steve pulls out a Christmas shopping bag and hands it to me.  "Merry Christmas.  Here's a gift I know you'll love!" Steve tells me.  We decided years ago that we'd no longer exchange gifts since it was tough enough buying presents for all our own kids and grandkids let alone buying gifts for each others kids and grandkids.  We stopped that practice a few years ago, but he just couldn't stop from buying me a gift when he saw it this year.  Steve is five years younger than me and we very seldom did much together after I began high school.  Seems we have been making up for that in the past dozen years or so with frequent outings and parties at each others homes.  And now a gift from him.  "You know, I bought you a gift also, but didn't bring it at the last minute since I thought you'd get upset when I gave it to you," I told him.  "Nah!  This isn't really a gift, just something I knew you'd love so I bought it for you," he replied.  Pulled it out of the bag and there was a t-shirt that must have been twenty-five or more years old.  "I found it today at the antique market when I went to look around.  Knew you'd just love it," he told me.  Sure enough, I know I had a big smile on my face when I saw the front of the t-shirt which read "Rocky Springs Park, Lancaster, PA".  

"Wow, pretty neat," I said to him. "I've never seen one like it."  Steve is a "Picker" in that he loves to find old items, bargain for them and resell them.  He knew that I made visits to Rocky Springs Amusement Park just about every week when I was in high school and first couple of years of college. Worked at the Acme Supermarket with a fellow whose grandfather ran the "Wildcat" roller coaster at the amusement park and we frequently made visits to the park to ride the coaster after work.  His grandfather would allow us to remain on the coaster as long as we wanted and never asked for a ticket.
If no one was standing in line and we were the only ones on the ride, he wouldn't even stop the coaster when it returned to the station.  Spent many summer evenings riding and riding that coaster.  Well, Steve had the biggest smile on his face when he gave it to me.  Knew I would love it. I never opened the package with the shirt in it until later in the evening when we had returned home.  Held it up and asked Carol if she thought I could fit into it.  She looked at me holding the shirt and said, "That's either a woman's or a child's shirt!" "I kinda thought so myself.  It's marked large, but must be a woman's large.  Figured it that way because of the sleeves" I responded.  "Steve's gonna be disappointed when I call him tomorrow."  Yep, he was rather upset that his find would not fit me, but told me to give it to someone else in the family or bring it back to him and he'd give it to his daughter-in-law who could wear it.  The thought was well received by me, and I know I could find someone to wear it, but I'll return it to him and he may be able to get his money back to spend on something else.  I know he will search high and low for something for me for he's that kind of brother everyone should have.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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