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Mr. Sundberg's Christmas Gift

November 30, 2004

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. There's always a little bit of chaos over the Thanksgiving holiday and this one was no exception so when Saturday afternoon rolled around I was ready to shut down for a while and just listen. I remember the words "a pilgrim and a stranger" and how it got me thinking about all the people in the world and all the places they're going. Seems we're each on a trip with our own little itinerary and we don't always wake up where we want to be. I know I don't. Some days I wake up and wish I were in Yuma, Arizona or Vancouver or somewhere on the east coast where you can wander on a beach and taste sea salt on your hands and eat shrimp. Sometimes I wish I were on an island in the Pacific where I don't have to put on three or four layers of clothes to go out to get the mail. And heck, who needs mail on an island? You just write your words in the sand for no one but yourself and the planes that fly overhead.

Speaking of which. I've had one heck of a time coming up with a Christmas gift for Mr. Sundberg. The kids are no problem. They've handed me these long lists of things like "whoopee cushion" and titles of books and "candy" and "A DOG" written on them. I believe I could wrap up a few cans of soup and they'd be thrilled as ever as long as it isn't cream of mushroom or lentil. Mr. Sundberg, on the other hand, is something of a challenge. He says he has all the clothes he needs. I bought him a Nordic Track last year (because it was so pricey it was also his birthday and Father's Day gift) and he's made good use of it (though I wouldn't use the word "giddy" here).

The other day he was watching MASH reruns with the kids and he said, "I sure would love to ride in a helicopter, wouldn't you guys?" I don't think they heard him because it had begun to snow and one of them noticed and they all ran to the window in a kind of hysteria. But I heard. So I called a nearby airport, one of those little ones where the runway kind of peters out into a cornfield. A man named Dave answered and laughed out loud when I asked if they sell gift certificates for helicopter rides. He told me he'd take my husband up for a good hour or so for a hundred bucks. All I'd have to do is reserve a day and time.

So that's what I'm thinking. A helicopter ride. For someone who flies in planes pretty regularly, and wonders what it would be like to try something else for a change. Which really is not like him. He still hasn't worn the red thermal-knit long johns with the flap in the back. (I thought they were cute.) The Fruit of the Month Club year-long subscription he DID like, but he passed on the mangoes and the star fruit, and the pomegranates he just didn't understand. As for the Refreshing Mint soap, well...let's just say he was distracted that Sunday in church. I hadn't realized it would leave him feeling cool and tingly all over. Or maybe I had.

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