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Birthdays and other gift-giving occasions

Last week I told you about the very special fishing trip that I gave my wife Lynn for her birthday one year. Writing that piece caused me to reminisce about other birthdays and gift-giving occasions. By now I have had to come up with about 25 birthday gifts for Lynn. I try to be thoughtful, even creative at times. For instance, I would never give Lynn a gift that I would not enjoy myself. Sort of like the biblical injunction, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” So one year I got her a very nice Winchester shotgun. Two years ago I bought her a very expensive Orvis fly rod and fly reel along with Orvis waders and other necessary gear. Lynn is not a very emotional person and manages to conceal her delight with these gifts.

She cannot hide her feelings, however, when these thoughtful gifts are accompanied by poetry that I have personally written. For example, one time Lynn complained that the spare tire in her car was dead and refused to hold air. Would I fix it she asked. This, of course, presented a great gift giving opportunity. I found a somewhat used tire of the appropriate size and bought it for Lynn’s birthday present. I tied a big yellow ribbon around it and put it in the kitchen after Lynn went to bed. It was the first thing she would see when she got up in the morning. To add romance to the occasion I crafted a loving poem to accompany the tire.

Be not filled with ire.
Here’s your new spare tire.
You said your heart’s desire
Was for a new spare tire.
Its steel belt is made of wire
It’s all that’s left when consumed by fire.
Your grace and charm do me inspire
To pen this poem about your tire.
By Don Ramon

Here certain acknowledgement should be made of that great English-speaking scholar Bill Bridges who assures me that there is a vast difference between poetry and verse.
I say, “Phooey.”

On another occasion Lynn mentioned that she needed another cookbook. If you know Lynn you know that she holds the world’s largest private collection of cookbooks. Her cookbook collection is second only to her collection of travel books. I found the book she wanted and bought it at an exorbitant price. (It actually cost much less than the fly rod but was not nearly as useful). The muse struck again and more poetry romantic spewed forth.

Here’s your book on how to cook.
Consign it not to some dark nook.
Its rules are simple
Its pictures clear
There’s even a recipe for beer.
Obey the rules to the very letter
And your food will taste so much better
Than all the stuff you’ve cooked before
That you’ll get compliments galore.
Sorry, it doesn’t say how to cook a camel.
By Don Ramon

I usually don’t do much to celebrate Valentine’s Day other than to agree to be Lynn’s valentine. She usually asks me a year in advance. She is afraid that there will be so much competition as the day draws near that someone else might beat her to the punch. I am already committed to being her valentine for the year 2003. About 4 years ago I decided to surprise her with a Valentine’s Day poem. I bought 19 of those shinny foil looking helium filled balloons with a ribbon trailing from each one. I then wrote a poem and attached it line by line to the balloons. The trail of balloons started by the kitchen door and ended up in the bedroom where I was eagerly awaiting Lynn’s reaction. The attached poem was as follows.

The 14th of February is a day so great
For those who after winter’s wait
Long for that fine American game
That’s led so many to lasting fame
That few there be who cannot claim
To know someone who’s rich and funny
Because they play the game for money
And some become so very rich
Because they really know how to pitch
That 3-inch horsehide ball
Through spring and summer and into fall
That the world’s at their beck and call.
On this day of every year
The pitchers and catchers are glad to hear
“To training camp you must report.”
And 6 weeks later to the day
Baseball season is underway.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
By Don Ramon

Lynn’s reaction was much more restrained than I would have anticipated given the creativity and unique expression of affection contained in the poem.

By now I’m sure you’re wondering why I don’t just give up my day job and write poetry for a living. I’ve actually considered that but feel it would be unfair to compete so openly with our local premiere poet Paul Ruffin. So I’ll just keep churning out private poetry for the love of my life and share some of it with you if the occasion seems to warrant it.