The best presents aren’t always the flashiest ones

I’ve gotten some good Christmas presents, and I’ve had some bad ones. But I can’t remember a single bad present that had to do with hunting, fishing or anything else dealing with the outdoors.

Several coworkers and I were talking about Christmas presents a few days ago. I work with people who are as into the outdoors as I am, so most of the gifts we discussed had to do with hunting and fishing.

It was all guys there, so it’s probably not surprising that the conversation started with several people asking for advice on what to get their wives. The probing for ideas led to admissions of presents we’ve given that bombed. I was surprised to find out that one of my colleagues actually did what I always thought was just a joke. He gave his wife a semi-auto 10-gauge goose gun one year. He’s over six feet tall, and she’s barely five. He picked out the shotgun that fit him best. She got the shotgun in the divorce.

Another guy gave his better half a really nice Orvis fly rod. That one turned out a little better. He said she had told him she’d like to get more involved in things he likes to do, so he picked out a rod he thought she’d like. He admitted if she didn’t take to fly fishing, he’d use the rod himself. But she was out in the driveway on that Christmas day, practicing her cast. He said by New Year’s, she was better at it than he was.

Eventually, we got around to great gifts we’ve received. There were a lot of shotguns mentioned. There were a bunch of fly rods and rifles on the lists, too.

I’ve been given a shotgun, a rifle and a fly rod for Christmas. They were all excellent presents, but the gift that meant the most to me was the knife my dad gave me when I was just a sprout. It wasn’t flashy, but it was my first knife.

It signified trust, and it was the first rite of passage I can remember. It disappeared a few weeks later, shortly after my initials somehow carved themselves in the aspen in the back yard.

Despite the fact that it didn’t last long, it was still my most memorable present. Maybe that’s what I’ll get my wife this year. I wonder if it’ll mean as much to her as mine did to me.

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