Posts Tagged ‘perfect gift’

I hate to admit it but I love to shop.  And even when the trend in my family and among friends is to stop the gift giving mania, I still operate as if I am on a diligent search for the elusive perfect gift.

This week I went to Clifton Forge and was smitten with the local Arts and Crafts Center.  Some of you have asked, “What did you buy?”

Sparkly Pin

Art Deco Shiny Pin for Dor

Well, I kept things under some control of course and bought the perfect gift of a stunning bejeweled pin, but wound up giving it to myself!

Then I saw the perfect gift (just for love) for Bill – a Four Way Screwdriver that sounds pretty mundane but the handle is of handcarved wood, and the tool actually does convert to four different size “heads” (I think that’s what you call them).   Bill seemed to like it a lot and it now has an honored place in a kitchen drawer to be used for those I-need-a-Phillipshead-moments.

4Way Screwdriver 2

Four Way Screwdriver With a Handcarved Wood Handle

Art Glass Nail File

Art Glass Nail File in a Velvet Pouch

Finally, even though this last item was not made locally, I knew it would bring me great joy.  You see, I had bought a tiny purse size version of  the Art Glass Nail File some time ago and loved it.  Always regretted not getting the standard size.  These files are produced in the famous Bohemian glass region of the Czech Republic and should last a lifetime with proper care (don’t drop it on a tile floor!).  They are also supposed to be good for your nails too and are beautiful to look at (the files, not my nails).

I’m ready to go back to the Alleghany Highlands Arts and Crafts Center in Clifton Forge.

It is the perfect place for dreaming, shopping, buying, and maybe finding the perfect gift.



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Horse Hat Rack 1A

This is Photo Story #3 for the Five Photos, Five Stories challenge.  The rules are to post a photo a day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo.  It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph.  Oh yes,  and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge.  Today I nominate Eliza Waters who once sent me a surprise gift.  Thank you again Eliza.

There is a strange tradition in my family.  We do not send gifts at expected times.  And we only send peculiar, laughter producing, or  perfect things calculated to insert the element of awe into our lives.

One of those awesome surprise gifts came yesterday.  It was in a giant box that weighed heavily and was filled with a whole lot of bubble wrap.

There is just no describing the heart-quickening excitement that comes from opening an unexpected mysterious package.

The return address was not familiar.  A secret admirer maybe?  One never loses hope even into extreme maturity.

We had not ordered anything, so I must say I was puzzled.  Could this be a mistaken delivery of gold bullion from Fort Knox?

Aha!  It is a Coat/Hat Rack – but not just any old hat rack.  And then I guessed who sent it.

This is another one of those delightfully unexpected, unconventional, perfect gifts from my brother and sister-in-law!

  • The four horses fit right in since we live in a rural area of Virginia devoted to equestrian activities.
  • The steeds are all looking back as if to say, “Happy Days are Here Again.”  That’s an old song.  Do you know it?
  •  We are a family of dedicated travelling companions and enjoy each others’ company, so the plaque symbolizes all of us together and “on the road again.”
  • There is only one fair person in our human group and there is only one fair horse in the hat rack.
  • The four horses and their “business ends” perfectly represent my fun-loving brother who is famous for taking pictures of the back sides of all varieties of living things.
  • And in the end  (pun intended), this perfect gift is a happy reminder of love and the importance of family.

There is something to be said for giving unconventional gifts at non-traditional times of the year.

Thank you Steve and Viv!  I am not disappointed (well, maybe sort of) there were no gold bars in this package and Bill and I both love the hat rack!

And we can’t wait to see you both again as we ride fly off together into the sunset.



Although I was born long after 1932, I do know that the song, “Happy Days Are Here Again” was Franklin Roosevelt’s selection for a campaign song that debuted during the 1932 Democratic Convention.  He was the first President to choose a pre-existing song for a campaign and it became the Democratic Party unofficial theme song for years to come.  

“On the Road Again” is a song made famous by country music  singer Willie Nelson and was one of his most recognizable tunes.

For some reason, I am into quoting old songs for blog posts.  

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Joys of Getting Older

The government started deporting senior citizens to save on Medicare costs!

The theory is that seniors will not remember the way back!

~Author Unknown

I am not particularly good at telling jokes – or retelling them – but you should be aware that the above is a joke, just in case I’m better at it than I think.

Looking for the perfect gift for a senior citizen in your life? Or how about anyone you know over 40? I remember writing about a wonderful book I found. The story is in a previous blog post, buried among other oddities, but I feel the need to tell the tale again.

I purchased one for every friend over 40. It was not a huge investment at around $5 each, and worth the ultimate reward in smiles. The name of the book is The Joys of Getting Older, by Thomas and Cindy Senior, and it has received dozens of positive reviews.

“An inspirational look at the beauty found in the Circle of Life.” ~ The Times

“This is a straightforward, clear-cut how-to book for putting a spark (or two!) back into your life. It truly describes the magical beauty to be found in the twilight years.” ~Yule Biyung, Author and Inspirational Speaker

“This is a great book. I just wish I could get it in a large print version.”

“This book is a hoot! A joy to give if only to see the look on people’s faces when they open it.”

It is “a book that doesn’t need language to amuse.”

And on the back cover:

“Thomas and Cindy Senior are the best-selling husband-and-wife team who authored Retiring Gracefully and Senior Sex: How to Rekindle the Sizzle in Your Bedroom. Here, in the tradition of their previous books, they have collected all their best advice and share their insights into how you can lead a happy and energetic life after reaching that certain age. The Seniors are living out their dream retirement in sunny Florida, where hurricanes and theme parks provide routine stimulation in their lives.”

The Joys of Getting Older is a great find and a wonderful book of laughter to give to your over-the-hill friends and family members.

Have you already guessed the content?

Yes, the interior pages of this book are all BLANK!

P.S.  This is a real book that is available at Amazon.com and even in reputable book stores and gift shops across the country.

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The saying, “It is better to give than receive,” has definite merit, at least when I think about the best gifts I have ever given, and how much joy the giving has given back.

My blogging friend at Mamas Empty Nest just shared her story of finding the perfect gift for a beloved sister. And her post got me thinking when she said it was “…the best gift I have ever given to another person.”

In 1959 and my Mom announced she was searching for a special book, written by Grace Hegger Lewis (first wife of Sinclair Lewis) and entitled Half a Loaf.  It was published in 1931.


So began a fifteen year search (before the wonders of the internet) for Half a Loaf.   I remember we scoured book stores and inquired at every library to no avail.  I  began to think it was a mission impossible.

But Christmas of 1974 was fast approaching and I finally discovered a first edition in an antique store!

The Book

I could hardly wait until Christmas morning!  And of course, my mother’s thrill was my thrill too, and we were both grinning and delighted with each other.  In a way it was sad that our search was over but  we would find other adventures to share.   At that moment her joy was all that mattered and her surprise was more satisfying to me than anything else under the tree.


In today’s world, we can find almost anything with the touch of a few keys.

Still, out of curiosity, and even though I have Mom’s book on my shelves now, I went online to see just how fast I could find it (or any information on it) today.  I was stunned to learn it is considered a rare book and even listed as “scarce, scarce, scarce.” I could find no cover photos and no write-ups or reviews either, not even on Amazon.

The little book seems as obscure now as it was in 1959, but at least the search for it took minutes this time instead of fifteen years, and it is available from just a few sellers of rare books.


Returning to my bookshelf this morning, I retrieved the little book and turned its pages once again, so many years later.  Mom died in 1993 and she left it for me to rediscover this morning.

As I gently turned the yellowing pages, something fell out!  I thought it was a newspaper clipping but it turned out to be a crumbling dust jacket with a synopsis.   I felt tears coming at the same time as an intense joy.  Once again I was holding something my Mom had held.  She had cherished it so much she  saved the old book’s dust cover folded between its pages and until now, I never even knew it was there.

The book and its cover

The Book and Its Cover

Half a Loaf was the best gift I have ever given to another person and proof that there is definitely more joy in giving than receiving.

What is the best gift you have given to another person?

From the Dust Cover of Half a Loaf:

“This is the story of what it means to be a successful author’s wife – told by a successful author’s former wife.  Half a Loaf is romantic and realistic.  Romantic because the two chief characters were young and in love when success came to them and because they continued, almost to the end, to find adventuring on an open road of more importance than emeralds in Cartier settings.  Realistic because Mrs. Lewis reveals with piercing insight that when a woman marries an author, she marries not only the man who loves her but also the author – the author who unconsciously becomes, in their creation, the characters he is creating, and who unconsciously becomes the person his reading public has invented.”

About Sinclair Lewis:

Harry Sinclair Lewis (February 7, 1885 – January 10, 1951) was an American novelist, short story writer, and playwrite. In 1930, he became the first writer from the United States to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humor, new types of characters.  His works are known for their insightful and critical views of American society and capitalist values, as well as for their strong characterizations of modern working women.

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