It sat there--the final gift under the Christmas tree. A huge box wrapped in shiny green paper that came up to my hip and much to my excitement had my name on it. As I reached down to pick it up I was stunned at the heaviness of it. Reading the tag I saw that it was a gift from my grandmother. I remember looking over to her and seeing her smirk. She looked pretty proud of herself. Getting excited I plopped right down on the floor and got ready to open it.
The entire box was covered in miles and miles of—Duct Tape.
“It's amazing what you can accomplish with a little imagination and a dozen rolls of duct tape”--J.V. Manning
My heart stopped. Immediately I knew what it was. Tears sprang to my eyes as I pulled it out and opened it. Nestled inside of the box was my great grandmother’s watch. A watch she had worn for years and had passed on to my grandmother. This watch was not worth a lot of money, nor was it particularly fashionable but it represented the two most important women in my life.
A tradition was born.
From that Christmas forward no one was safe. There would always be at least one present wrapped in rolls and rolls of duct tape and a half a roll of tin foil.
Two stand out in my mind the most.
One year my sister bought her husband a 42” flat screen TV. She, my grandmother and my 7 year old step son spent 4 hours wrapping it in duct tape, the Sunday comics and tin foil. 8 rolls of duct tape went onto that one and took him almost an hour and a half to get into it. Another time was a few years back—I had found a one of a kind autographed baseball for my husband. This ball had been a treasured keepsake of one of the Groundskeepers at Fenway Park in Boston. He had over a span of 30 years, gotten over 25 autographs of his favorite Red Sox players. Starting in the 1920’s and going to the 1950’s. Big names in baseball like- Williams & Yastrzemski to name a couple. Took me over 2 hours and 4 boxes, 4 cans of spaghetti sauce, a couple of rocks, 4 rolls of duct tape, 1 roll of tin foil and 2 rolls of Christmas wrapping paper to get it done.
Every time I get excited about a gift I have found for a loved one my grandmother’s words echo in my ears—“Remember that anything in life that is important-- you have to work for”. She’s gone now but her memory is as strong as the duct tape and a shiny as the tin foil I wrap around these presents. Sometimes I swear I can hear her chuckle.
More from living