Gifts from the heart | Living the Country Life

Gifts from the heart

From My Place To Yours

Choosing gifts can be a challenge for me. I'm not super crafty, I have eclectic tastes, and I tend to get people what I like – but maybe not what they want. I once gave my oldest son an acoustic guitar simply because I wanted to hear him strumming "Thunder Road" instead of playing video games. What he really wanted was a motherboard for his computer. He never played the guitar. I've learned that my husband does not want clothes or anything else I think he might want. Now I ask him to circle a tool from a catalog and I order it for him. He receives the welder, shop fan, or grinder by UPS, takes it to the farm shop, and is perfectly happy.

Man, is that boring.

For my daughter's high school graduation this year, I couldn't stop myself. I decided she wanted a handmade wooden hope chest from the local company, Sticks ( I gave the artists photos of our house and barn, and told them to add things that Caroline loved like goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, strawberries, running, skiing, our church, and 4-H. I selected the words and phrases to be etched around the lid: "Live, love, laugh; Believe; Work hard; Be creative" and more. I added her name to the center of the lid. The artists got to work and in a few weeks I picked up the beautiful birch chest. I was going to save it as a surprise for her graduation party, but I couldn't keep it under wraps. When she saw it, she looked at each side of the chest and then said, "The pigs are too small." Soon she figured out she could fit inside the chest, jump out, and scare her friends.

Someday she will appreciate this extravagant present. Until then, it's mine. It's far too large for her to haul to college anyway.

What do you give as gifts? Produce from the garden is always a favorite. It's hard to beat a basket of peaches, a tub of tomatoes, or a jar of homemade jam. In a world of text messages, a handwritten note is a special gift.

I went overboard with the custom hope chest, but sometimes Mom has to give herself a present.
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– Betsy Freese

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