Monday, January 1, 2018

The Gift of the Magi

The short story of the same name by O'Henry is one that has stuck with me these 35+ years since I first read it. I always think about it around this time of year as gifts are given, especially within my immediate family. My grandparents, parents and sibling are all successful people who are financially secure enough to be able to buy whatever they need or want as they need or want it. So often are gifts center around consumables such as gift certificates to their favorite restaurant or in my case, hardware store. I love these gift certificates and always think of those that gave them to me as I use them and I'm sure that is the case of those whom I have gifted the same.

But this Christmas, I received a present that has topped all the presents I have received over the last couple decades of my life. My uncle who came to my house for Christmas, brought my great grandfather's World War I photo album that I only found out it existed just a couple months ago. I learned of it while talking with my grandparents and one of them made a casual remark about a picture in that album. When I asked where it was and learned that it had been given to my great uncle and passed onto my uncle, I made a note to ask him about it the next time I saw him.

[Side note here. I inherited a number of World War I pictures of my great grandfather from my great uncle (grandfather's brother) upon his death and have always cherished those pictures greatly. But I thought those dozen pictures were all that existed... that is until recently.]

This Christmas with my grandparents in town, we were selected to host the Christmas gathering and my uncle was going to come down as well. I was planning on asking him about the album during that time however he arrived with the album already in possession. I had to take a few deep breaths because it was much larger than I had anticipated and full of pictures of World War I and my great grandfather. My uncle left the album with me to digitize so that I can pass those pictures on to others in my family and with the promise that I will return the album back to him when finished.

I am overjoyed and ecstatic. It is kind of like winning the lottery. I feel like I have just received a beautiful gold chain for my prized pocket watch as in the Gift of the Magi. I am itching to start scanning those photos and digesting them one at a time like a thrilling book and I'm sure many might make it onto this blog. But for the immediate future, it must wait as other more pressing things occupy my time. Hopefully soon in this new year I can dig into this labor of love.

One of my favorite pictures of my great grandfather during World War I that I inherited from my great uncle.


Kelly said...

What a treasure! So often (most often?!) the best gifts are those that can't be bought.

Happy new year to you and yours, Ed.

sage said...

This is a magi-like gift. I have enjoyed seeing his photos from the war. I had a great-great uncle (I think, he was my great-grandfather’s brother) who was gassed during the war. My grandmother had his diary and his pistol, which she gave to a county museum. Before she gave it away, she had me read the journal, but there was very little written of interest—just a sentence or two every few days and then a long gap and a few more sentences about a hospital in London. He was disabled the rest of his life and died in the early 1940s.

Ed said...

Kelly - Treasure indeed!

Sage - I've had some of those type of things too where I was so excited only to find little of interest. This one however was the exact opposite.

Bob said...

What a fantastic gift! This is the kind of gift that is the most special and one you’ll always remember. I also suspect you’ll remember just how you felt when you received it.

Ed said...

Bob - I definitely will!

Susan said...

How wonderful that this treasure trove has been so carefully carried throughout the years! I am looking forward to seeing them, too! It is the best gift, ever!

Pumpkin Delight (Kimberly) said...

Oh wow! That is an incredible gift. I look forward to you sharing the Best of with us. I love family albums like that and the stories that go with them.