Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gift Rap

During the two-hour drive up to my family’s holiday party in Bay City this past weekend, I asked my two boys what favorite Christmas gifts they received growing up.

For older son Greg, it was a SuperTechmo Bowl for his Nintendo 64. For Scott, it was Venom, a plastic replica of Spiderman’s evil arch-villain. Their choices are representative of their personalities too for reasons that I need not get into. Wife Wendy chimed in that her favorite gift as a child was Baby First-Step, a large doll that you could take by the hand so it would toddle along with you like a baby taking its first steps.

One of my very favorite finds under the Christmas tree growing up was Horrible Hamilton. HH was a giant plastic monster that lurched across the carpet on his four claws whenever its string was pulled. Cities, fortresses, whole armies fell before Horrible Hamilton’s relentless charge--so long as those cities and fortresses were built out of playing cards and plastic soldiers.

Would there be such a memorable gift among our family’s exchanges this year? As it turned out, yes there was. My youngest brother lives in South Dakota, too far away to attend our holiday get-together, but he mailed a large plastic crate filled with surprises. So heavy it required two people to retrieve it from my parent’s home and take it to the party venue, my father’s gift was protected with extreme bubble wrap, the kind that might protect dinosaur bones.

When dad stripped away the bubble wrap, we saw why it was so carefully packed. It was the large bare white skull of a buffalo. Awesome! My father has collected arrowheads, Indian beadwork and clay pipes for decades. He had pointed out some interesting looking buffalo skull artwork on a previous trip west. Still, I’m sure he wasn’t expecting this.

Though a few of the women at the party may not have looked too kindly upon this ancient artifact as a gift, it just oozed history from every crack and orifice. Possibly, it could have roamed the plains of South Dakota when Buffalo Bill hunted there. It certainly would look stately in the space above my folks’ fireplace if they had one.

Even better would be mounting it outside, above the garage door where normally you might find a basketball backboard and hoop. Dad could be the first on his block, heck--the neighborhood, to have a brooding remnant of our nation’s past standing watch over his street.

Instead, dad says it will probably go onto a wall of his computer room which is already adorned with his collections of historical artifacts. That’s cool too. Puts me in a retro mood just thinking about it. Hmmmmmmm, maybe I should hop over to E-Bay to see if I can find Horrible Hamilton.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A great gift... to one who is into that stuff...
Not so sure about HH though Dave.

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is one great gift, but I'm happy that it will hang in your Dad's den and not mine. It really would be cool out over the garage door! A Happy New Year to you and Wendy and the kids.

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

Sorry so tardy in responding. I hope you had a wonderful holiday! I enjoyed your poem in the previous post. Very creative!

2:38 PM  
Blogger MSUgal86 said...

great gifts all. i actually owned a buffalo skull when i went through my Southwest decorating frenzy and really enjoyed looking at it. i thought of it as a bit of a good luck charm. when i moved back to Michigan i sold a lot of that stuff. now i have a penchant for blue glass. it is amazing how small finds can give the soul simple pleasures.

3:59 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...


Horrible Hamilton?? Yikes, never heard of that one! But then again, I was into "Flatsies" and "Kiddles"...and of course, miss Barbie herself. Pretty much no destruction going on with those toys.

Hope you had a great Christmas, and may 2007 bring you good fortune!

Take good care,

7:21 PM  
Anonymous Terri said...

Sounds like you had a great Christmas gathering and that gift for your dad was awesome.
I've never heard of Horrible Hamilton but I sure remember Baby First Step.
Here's wishing you a very Happy New Year and all the best in '07.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Nankin said...

I can't say that I've heard of Horrible Hamilton either. Maybe it was a regional thing.

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very Happy New Year to you and yours, Dave...stay safe...enjoy! :)

5:55 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

My best gift this year was very simple. It's a remote control to turn the Christmas tree lights on and off. I no longer have to crawl under the piano to find the outlet.

Happy New Year to you and your family, Dave.

6:24 PM  
Anonymous Merle said...

Hi Dave ~~ Glad you and the family had a great Christmas, and glad your Dad liked his present - not one for the ladies.
I enjoyed your Christmas memories and your poem. I enjoyed my week with Kathy and family, but it is always nice to get home. Thank you for your comments and glad you liked the chocolate math thing, only works in 2006, so they tell me.
I would like to wish you and your wife and family a very Happy, Healthy and
prosperous New Year in 2007. Take care, Regards, Merle.

12:46 AM  
Anonymous squirrel said...

Sounds like a great party and that gift sounds like it made your fathers Christmas! I wanted to stop by and wish you a Happy New Year! Thanks for a great years worth of great posts!

5:03 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

Happy New Year.

7:29 PM  
Anonymous schnoodlepooh said...

That buffalo head sounds pretty cool, although I don't think I would want to look at it every day. Hmmm....

10:30 AM  
Blogger bornfool said...

He could mount it on the front of his car for a hood ornament. I'm guessing that would be pretty unique for Bay City.

Happy New Year, Dave. I hope this is the best year ever for you and yours.

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Historical artifacts are cool, unless they consist of old agricultural college pennants.

I'm in a retro mood as I think back on the 1988 Rose Bowl. We're cheering for the Trojans today. Our children know that they would be cut out of our will for ever rooting for the wrong university in Michigan.

Happy New Year, Dave!

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could they have done this with the horsehead from Godfather?

4:48 PM  
Anonymous Rhea said...

Wanted to say Happy New Year from one baby boomer to another!

10:01 AM  
Anonymous vicki said...

Very cool gift! I'm a big fan of bones and teeth and fossils and so forth. I remember Wendy's favorite-my sister Betsy got that one. HH is new to me but my guess is, yes, you can find it on eBay.

I'm assuming you're too depressed to update regarding yesterday's game. Sigh.
We went to great lengths to get the cable up and running here in Florida just so we could watch.

In any case, a very very happy new year to you and yours, Dave.

(I wonder if we got our trees at the same now defunct tree farm? I think it was out on Island Lake Rd, somewhere near there. They had good trees!)

4:16 PM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

My best gift this year was having all the kids here, everyone having a good time, good dinner and still having a little energy after it was all over.....

5:29 AM  
Anonymous Dwight K Schrute said...

When Greg said Tecmo Bowl he meant for the original Nintendo not for Nintendo 64. You were way off there.

5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


12:40 AM  

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