Tis the season of rejection

He had probably washed the dishes, made the bed, and been exceedingly polite. Not solely because of the question/statement he’d later ask, but maybe. Maybe he was buttering her up for the suggestive moment when he reveals the deepest desire of his heart this Christmas. Would he hint? Would he outright ask? And the biggest question, how would she respond?
I was lucky enough to witness it during my casual stroll through Bass Pro Shops Sunday. I ambled past the frozen wolves to the top level and the archery section. That’s when I saw him. He approached with the calculated gait of an excited boy in the armory section, touched the bow with longing eyes, carefully lifted it from the rack and showed it to her.
“But you already have a hunting bow.”
“I know.”
He paused and tried to stay positive, but hope was fleeting. She turned. It was over. He re-hung the bow and followed, shoulders slumped, feet shuffling. He was a broken man. I felt a little bad, but couldn’t help breaking into a silent chuckle because I saw myself in him. When I was a kid I wanted a drum set. I knew my parents would get it for me because they both taught music. Duh.
Whenever we were in Ketchikan we’d go by McPherson Music. It was perfect because the owners were friends with my folks so while they chatted, I could gaze at the drum set, touch it with desirous fingers or even sit down.
My parents forced my hand by not acknowledging my hints. I finally asked. They said no.  I realize now it probably would have been a waste of money, but for that one year, I was absolutely sure there was a good chance I might use it if I got it for Christmas.
I know I’ve asked for a lot of things but I only really remember lusting after the drums and a pirate ship. I got the pirate ship, but that’s because I was five or six and hadn’t discovered more expensive toys.
Somewhere along the line my parents got my brother and I a Nintendo. My parents then invited their teacher friends over to play World Class Track Meet on the Power Pad. So my first gaming memories are of a bunch of Mr.’s and Mrs.’s laughing and doing foot-fires in front of the TV while my brother and I waited for them to leave so we could play.
My brother and I asked for the Super Nintendo a few years later but didn’t get it, thus ending the prospect of us becoming gamers. By that point we were asking for things like basketball camps which were way more fun and useful. I got to see the Air Force Academy, my parents visited college friends. I got to learn fundamentals from a Hall of Fame Coach in Maryland, my parents went to Gettysburg and D.C..
I haven’t asked for anything this year because I’m pretty content. My needs are met.  Mom will buy me something anyway, so will my brother and I will return the favor but there aren’t specifics or lists or hints really. The only two people in our immediate family that really need things are my niece and nephew – that need is more camo which I made sure I addressed.
My yuletide recollections faded and I returned to meandering through the Bass Pro rows.
I figured a Christmas without the new bow wouldn’t ruin that guy. He’d be okay, after all he was probably 60-years old and had surely endured worse things than his wife shutting down his $500 Christmas bow.

See column at:

Leave a Reply