|Republished from 2003|
By Gaylen Duskey
I was shopping with my daughter Elizabeth the other day when she asked me what I wanted for Christmas.
"A job," I mumbled.
"Dad. Something I can get," she said.
"I don't know. I honestly don't know," I said. "If you don't get me anything, then that will be all right too."
And I meant what I said. I knew she was thinking about me but I also know as a person looking for a job - and have been since late April - that you become forced to throw nickels around like manhole covers. Gifts are great but they must take a back seat to things like mortgage payments, utility bills and food. With the exception of Christmas for Elizabeth the gifts are taking a back seat.
But on the way home, as I thought more and more about it, I came up with the answer for Elizabeth. It is something I need and something that doesn't cost too much.
"I think tee shirts would be nice," I said.
"I was looking at some. You want long sleeve or short sleeve?" she asked. "Long sleeved tee shirts? You sure we're talking about the same thing?" No, we weren't. She was talking about shirts and I was talking about tee shirts - I prefer v-necked and have quit wearing the other kind years ago - that you wear under your regular shirt or to sleep in. Those tee shirts. She said she'd look.
That's all I can ask since I know she cares even though the purse may be near empty.
But yes there are things I would like to have.
I'd love to have a new computer, or a new hard drive for my old computer. Or somebody with the knowledge of how to work on a computer to help me fix the one I have. A computer is needed when the stuff you are selling on e-Bay is more than just a wild hair . it's necessary to make ends meet.
I'd like to have five football cards. I need a Cleveland Browns team card from the 1958 Topps set to complete the set I have been working on for, well, since I bought them as a kid. I could also use a Jim Brown card from the same set but it isn't "expensive" its "very expensive."
I'd also like to have three 1962 Fleer football cards - Jim Otto, Charley Powell and Bob Coolbaugh.
I would like to have those cards although in the grand scheme of things if I never get them it wouldn't be a tragedy.
There are other things I would love for Christmas . things that I can't buy, nor can anyone else buy them for me.
I would love for my wife's mammogram to come back clean. I would love for my mother's knees to quit hurting her.
I would love for my dad to remember things better than he does now.
I would love for Elizabeth to have the breaks I never got as she grows up.
I would even love to go through a day without tingling in my feet or pain in my back and knees or a gnawing feeling that as a husband and father I am not a very good provider at this time.
On the other hand I would love for people to know the warmth and love I get from my friends and family.
This time five years ago I was making big money as the director of a division of an Internet company with about 120 people working for me.
This time last year I was a columnist for a daily newspaper. Today I am selling stuff on e-Bay to make ends meet.
It certainly isn't how I wanted things to go. I wanted to be rich and retired now. However, it looks as if it may never happen.
But that doesn't matter because my friends and my family accept and love me the way I am.
What do I want for Christmas Elizabeth?
Nothing honey. Your love is more than I could ever ask for.
But if you see Elizabeth shopping for a tee shirt, tell her to get at least 1X.