It was one of my many birthday parties, that my parents always made sure I had every year. Weeks of planning went into the various party games for the enjoyment of all. I tried to carry on that tradition with my kids and I realized just how much work it is to plan games, treasure hunts and to come up with matching themes--sports, Academy awards or carnival to name a few.
At this particular birthday, my Mom decided to have a white elephant gift swap. For those who don't know, the definition of a white elephant is, "a possession that is useless or troublesome"--though we know one person's trash can be another person's treasure.
My Mom had this set up that Dad would play the piano and we stood in a circle passing the white elephant items around. Like musical chairs, when the music stopped, you got the gift you were holding.
When my parents saw the neighbor boy show up with this guitar, they panicked. They thought for sure that his parents didn't want him giving away this guitar. It was a much bigger gift than all the smaller things the other kids had brought. Since he lived down the road and walked to the party, they assumed his parents didn't know. They questioned him if he was sure it was okay. He said it was. Who knows, maybe he was taking lessons and this would get him out of practicing. I think my parents tried to call his parents but couldn't get hold of them.
My parents ran through what they should do and hatched an elaborate plot. Well, okay, it wasn't elaborate but it was deceitful and if all the kids weren't busy concentrating on grabbing the gift headed their way, they may have seen what happened--at least I hope no one saw because I can't imagine what they thought of my parents. I was oblivious in birthday party bliss.
So, Dad played the piano as Mom got us passing things around. What I didn't know was that Mom signaled Dad to stop the music when the guitar got to me. They wanted me to get it so that they could give it back to his parents.
Their plan played out perfectly and I got the biggest and best white elephant prize. After the party, my parents explained what they did and I really didn't mind them returning the guitar. Well, as it turned out, the parents knew and didn't want the guitar back. So, over the years, the guitar got strummed on occasionally but not really much--just fooling around.
It eventually became an objet d'art on the wall. It remained there for many years. Perhaps this was fore shadowing of the time in my future when I was about 20 and a friend wanted to take group guitar lessons and begged me to go with her. It was the furthest thing from my mind but being a good friend, I reluctantly went along. I think guitars were provided. I really don't remember. Well, after the so many weeks of lessons, my friend realized it wasn't for her and dropped out. I bought a new guitar and I continued the lessons. I did enjoy playing the guitar for my own enjoyment for a number of years.
Now as I write this, I recall, also in my twenties that the neighborhood "boy" resurfaced into my life and we dated for a very short while. I wonder if he wanted his guitar back? I would have gladly given it back to him if that would have stopped what turned into an almost stalking type relationship.
The childhood guitar remained hanging on the wall until one day when my Mom decided to let my kids have it to play with. I can't remember them playing with it very much and somehow, it was packed away in our basement and recently found.
As I said, one person's trash is another person's treasure and as we donate this, I am thinking it will make some other child happy and they will never know the journey this guitar has traveled. It's probably fifty years old and I don't know if it ever played a "real" song--maybe in it's next home.
Someday at my Dad's house I will find the ukulele my Mom got for herself one year and that ties in with my boyfriend immediately after the guitar guy. I hadn't thought about that. No, I wasn't stringing them along.
|Here it is, a decorative wall hanging.|