“You know,” Stan Bowers was saying, “sometimes I really envy my daughter, Dena, not just becauseshe’s got Lisa for a mom, and not because she’s so cute and smart and just about everything I ever wanted in a daughter even long before I ever had a daughter.”
“She’s pretty special,” I said, which was true. Stan and Lisa were good parents.
“Gift cards and stuff like that?” I always thought picking out the right gift card was an art.
“Nah, I don’t think Dena’s ever even thought of getting anyone a gift card.”
“Never. I really think people love getting stuff from her, not just because it’s a present, but because its gonna be special, the kind of stuff you want, but wouldn’t buy for yourself usually because it’s too expensive for what it is or something like that, you know what I’m saying?”
“Yeah, lots of stuff I want, but it has to wait until I really need it.”
“Right,” Stan said, apparently trying to remember the story he was telling.
“What’s the coolest present she’s ever gotten you?” I asked.
“They’ve all been cool!” he said. “Last year she took me to dinner at a restaurant I didn’t even know she knew I knew I always wanted to go to. You know, that almost expensive one, Moochies or something like that…”
“Yeah, that one. I’d been thinking about it a long time, but just never set it up, reservations and all that.”
“Yeah, I know, great place.”
“Anyway, she took me there. And a couple years ago it was to a little show I never heard of, but loved. Of course, Tony Bennett, but you know all about that one. First time ever saw him anyplace that wasn’t a TV.”
“Expensive though,” I said.
“Not when we were younger,” Stan said. “Coulda seen him lots of times for just the cost of a few beers, but then he wasn’t as big as he is now. Anyway, as I was saying, last weekend at the little Christmas thing we have she gives Lisa what looked to me like Dena’s first “fall-on-your-face” kind of gift. Lisa opens this big box. I’m thinking maybe it’s a new toaster over, but it looks kinda light. You know, the wife’s holding it like there’s nothing in it and there wasn’t anything in it, just this piece of paper that says, “This is a gift of time, an entire day to spend just with you.”
“What kind of gift is that?” I asked.
“Exactly,” Lou said, “I gave Lisa a book, nothing special, just something she might like and it’s nothing to her.”
“How do I know? The woman at the store said it was great. Anyway, yesterday, Lisa cashes in on her gift of time. They together. They’re gone all day. Turns out Lisa loves it, says it’s one of the best presents she’s ever gotten.”
“Nope. Lisa says they had brunch, went shopping, saw a movie, had dinner, went to a quiet little bar and came home.”
“Musta cost Dena more than a hundred bucks.”
“Who knows, but it’s about all Lisa’s been talking about. So this afternoon I said to her, ‘since you had so much fun, Honey, I want to add to my Christmas present and give you pretty much the same deal as Dena. I want to give you a gift of my time. How about six hours?”
“Not quite. According to my watch, I’ve got another half-hour to kill before I can go back home.”
“Guess she liked your gift after all.”
“Tell me about it.”