Thursday, December 29, 2005

A Gift For Grandma

For Christmas last year I got my 93-year-old grandmother a copy of her father's social security application through the government's Freedom of Information Act. I thought it a novel gift idea. A friend of mine was not so impressed. "I hope you're never my secret Santa. I'll probably get a copy of my birth certificate," he joked.

Well, it's hard to shop for your nonogenarian grandmother when traditional Christmas gifts just won't do. This year I think I did better. I remember when as a kid we would go to my grandmother's house Christmas Eve, my grandfather would pull out his violin and play. It was part of the tradition, it seemed.

Music was my grandfather's passion throughout life. He led his own Polish orchestra for decades in the Bay City area of Michigan. He had an extensive collection of sheet music and orchestra arrangments which were passed on to me when he died some years ago. They included an early arrangement of "Hail to the Victors, the song of the University of Michigan." What class!

In Krysziak's, a Polish restaurant in Bay City, there hangs a number of old photographs of Polish musicians from the area. Included was a picture taken almost 60 years ago of my grandfather on stage playing the violin with his band.

With a bit of effort, I was able to borrow the picture to make a copy for my grandmother. I knew she would appreciate it as a remembrance of her late husband. While I had the photo, I made copies of it for myself, my dad and my siblings.

My dad was impressed. He framed his copy right away. Everyone seemed to think I did right by grandma this Christmas. In fact, I was surprised to get an e-mail from my uncle Jim:

"Hi Dave. I went to my ma's and Vic came over with a picture of my dad's band. He gave my ma one but I didn't get one. I know you must have sent me one cause I'm your favorite uncle. So I thought I would tell you I didn't receive it yet. Oh well, I'll just have to wait, huh? Bye bye, love ya,

Your Best Uncle"

Wonder if he would settle for a copy of his grandfather's social security application. I still have a copy of that around somewhere.


Blogger Fred said...

I laughed so hard, The Missus just asked what's going on. Very funny, Dave.

Great present, too. You've set the bar pretty high, though. It'll be tough to beat next year.

8:41 AM  
Blogger Trucker Bob said...

I'll bet that meant so much to her. Very thoughtful gift.

12:21 PM  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

You're getting cute in your old age.

4:44 PM  
Blogger Nankin said...

Sounds like a great gift to me.

6:05 PM  
Blogger Gypsybobocowgirl said...

Thoughtful, great gift. 'Course, I think the social security application was pretty cool also.

9:08 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Great gift idea Dave, looks like uncle Jim is gonna out wait you for his copy.

4:22 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

Very creative and wonderful gift idea. I'll bet that was her favorite Christmas gift ever.

We have a grainy black and white photo of my deceased father-in-law taken when he came to Ellis Island from Italy as a boy. It's a very cherished item.

5:48 AM  
Blogger schnoodlepooh said...

That's a very cool gift. No wonder your uncle wanted one. I would also. Good for you.

2:06 PM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Dave- Nice post and a great gift for Grandma. Will be hard to top that one.
Thanks for your welcome to heronsnest & logland.
Your Granmother has reached a
good age and you are lucky to have her still with you.
She must be a handsome woman !!!
Happy New Year to you & your family.

3:59 AM  
Anonymous caroldee said...

HOw do you top that?..a thoughtful gift is the most appreciated these days..the gift cards are nice but when people take time to really think about the "gift " they are giving well it means a great deal.
Your family should be proud!!!!Good luck for next year you will need it!!! As for the prediction thing for new year 2006..boy are we in trouble that about covers it. You will see!! Caroldee

9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


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