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Oh, Don’t Do That

So I’m walking through the bookstore trying to find a gift for my dad, and I remember the year I talked my sister into giving my grandmother an air conditioning filter for Christmas.
I think we were in Sears, and when I saw the air conditioning filter, it reminded me of those collage photo frames (very popular at the time) with lots of little openings where the faces could show through. Except with the air conditioning filter, blue plasticky stuff showed through. And it was cardboard.
Undeterred, I proclaimed it a perfect gift for Mamo.
My sister demurred.
I remember flailing my hands around the air conditioning filter, remonstrating. “Oh, yeah,” I said. “We can fix it up, put some stuff around it, like, you know, here. It’ll be great.”
She gave me the skank eye, she gave the air conditioning filter the skank eye, but I must have been persuasive because we took it home.
Why was I so committed to the air conditioning filter? This was not a young child inspired to create a handmade gift for her grandparent, doesn’t matter what it looks like, Mamo will love it. I think I was in college. And I was the older sister, the one who should have been setting a good example. What part of “doll up an air conditioning filter and give it to your grandmother for Christmas” struck me as a good idea?
I don’t know. I do remember my sister jerking me aside Christmas morning.
“Did you see the look on Mamo’s face when she opened that thing?” she hissed. “She thinks we did that on purpose, giving her that mangled up gift!”
I admit, it didn’t turn out as well as I had imagined. I seem to recall some use of Saran wrap to replicate the glass cover on the real photo frame.
I’m happy to report that my dad is getting a tote bag that says, “Happy!” I don’t know if, at age 88, he still totes stuff around or not. But I do know he’s happy. All the time he’s happy. Which makes me wonder if I thought my grandmother was the type of person who needed to clean out her vents . . .

here’s to creative synthesis . . .

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